Any establishment I feel that cares and takes pride in the fact, that it goes that little bit extra and shows willingness to find and source the most local produce it can, is a great way to show what a quality establishment it is. On the Pizza Cafe website it is full of mentions of different suppliers from where they source Dairy to where their smoked salmon is sort from.
The pizza cafe does not seem like your regular local pizza eatery, from there website they pride them selves on quality, and take pride in that they are a family business, which also sponsor many different charities/appeals such as the “Helen Foundation”. The restaurant is located on the main street of Newton Abbot, but luckily in the part which has parking local to it, and even directly outside. The building is painted in not the brightest of colours, however the pizza cafe logo is enough to make it standout.
Upon entering the establishment you are presented with a light and airy dining area, with nice wooden tables and laid out well. We were greeted by a young waitress, who showed us to a table. The waitresses here are all quite young and dressed in smart black shirts and trousers, and are well suited to the restaurant. Upon being seated we were then shown the menus and drinks were ordered.
Looking through the menu, I was immediately surprised at the size and some of the dishes here. Most of the normal pizza place fare is on offer, however some very different things such as “Prawn and Crayfish Salad”, “Peking Duck Wrap” and “Moroccan Tagine”, there are many different elements of the menu with Jacket Potatoes, Pasta, Wraps, Tex Mex, Salad and a host of different starters and then on top of this the Pizza selection, it really is a vast menu.
Having scanned through we decided to go for a starter of “The Pizza Cafe Combo”, followed by a “Big Trouble in Little China – Snack Pizza – Plum Sauce, peking duck, spring onions and pineapple” and a “Porky’s – Sanck Pizza – Westcountry pineapple and onion chutney, slow roasted westcountry pork, caramelised onions, crispy bacon, chorizo and fire roasted yellow peppers” with the idea on splitting each pizza and sharing. My choice immediately was the “Porky” having such local produce on offer, and from the wording on the menu they make the pizza sound like a work of art. With my mouth water just at the thought of what was to come.
They offer 3 different sizes here 7” (Snack), 9” Regular, 12” Large. These sizes are good however it would be good to have a size board on the wall somewhere, just to give customers an idea of size of what they are ordering. Being an engineer by day I had a good idea of the size and 7” seemed good, however the table next to us at the time ordered regulars each and half of these were taken away in pizza boxes. However this is a good time to note that you are allowed and encouraged by staff to take home doggy bags etc, this should be shown more willingness to do in restaurants and is a good thing.
The restaurant at the time of entering was quite empty with only 3 tables taken, however by the time our food arrived, within about 15minutes the restaurant was now full with the exception of around 4 tables, which is impressive for a Monday night. This shows the popularity of the place.
The first dish arrived, which we immediately divided between us and ill break the dish down here. The chicken wings, were beautifully cooked and spiced well with a small after taste of heat, the chicken was really succulent and tasty. The Criss Cross fries, had a great flavour and had a small hint of cheese, they were not crispy however had some small pieces which the taste was amazing (Crispy Bits). Onion Rings, these were pretty standard and im not sure if 100% fresh but again your standard fare on this one, but good non the less. The only real let down of dish for me was the potato skins which were just as describe, skins with about 4mm of potato, and nothing else as the menu stated, however I feel a small bit of melted cheese of maybe abit of tomato added would give these the edge. My sharing partner however thought they were perfect and just used alot of dip. The dips added well to the whole event with the BBQ being sweet and not a spicy sauce by any means, however good flavour and quite a musky aftertaste. The Garlic Mayo, was great and really thick, not watery and had a strong garlic taste, needless to say I quickly stole this pot to myself.
Now onto the Pizza’s
The pizza arrived and I was very pleased we ordered the 7” versions. Immediately I was impressed how the pizza based was nice and thick around the edges, but surprisingly the centre of the disk was incredibly thin and had a good crisp bottom. The filling was certainly PACKED full, and the plum sauce was very sweet and not the traditional chinese, however it worked very well with the base. The duck was incredible, and if I didnt know better this was from a chinese shop somewhere, the skin was so crisp and crunched in the mouth. The spring onions had a good slight crisp, and the pineapple added a good sweet element but all this was all brought down to earth with the good base and deep taste of chinese duck.
(Camera decided to Corrupt this, Will get on next visit and update).
Now first I have to try and just describe the smell form this, it was a cross of amazingly crisp pork, mixed with the sweet smell of sugar coated onions and sweet cooked pineapple. Again the base was well risen around the edges and had even more filling on top than the previous, with the base coated with what must be spoons full of chutney. The chutney which was incredibly sweet and moorish was the star of the pizza, and I will certainly be asking them for where they source this from in Devon as it was AMAZING!. The chorizo added a new element to the pizza with a strong taste but mixed so well with the pork and cheese topping. Overall I could describe very moist, succulent and crispy parts of different pork elements, but I am so far just making my Mouth Water again. Overall this has to be one my top pizza’s ive had and has even taken the place of which once was the top of the list “Domino’s BBQ Texas pizza”, but this is the new favourite. The locally sourced and quality of ingredients really did show on this, and I really cant describe how nice it was.
By the time I had eaten above I was needless to say stuffed, and just couldnt eat anymore if I wanted to. I had my heart set on the amazing “Sin City – Folded sweet pizza with nutella and mascapone, served with vanilla and chocolate ice cream”, however I just couldnt and will need to save this for my next visit.
The service here on this evening was brilliant the waitresses are polite, charming and do their jobs well and dress for a small restaurant very well, and is where the restaurant shines with good personal service.
Overall – 8/10
This is the first meal in a while which has not been at a fine dining establishment, and for once it is a nice change to see a menu which has good hearty food without foams/mouses/foie Gras (Even though I love it so!). This was a brilliant meal with some truly great local food, the service was great and shows what a good small establishment can do.
The bill came to a respectable £31.00 with drinks 2 Starters, 2 Snack pizzas and a Regular Pizza (Not mentioned about as was not allowed to sample these), this was without service and I payed £36.00 believing that this was very much deserved.
I will definitely be returning to this restaurant, and in a way im glad my camera decided to corrupt the photo as its a great excuse to return quickly. The only criticism of the evening being the small disappointed with the potato skins but this is nothing to go on about and overall was a great dish.
Look forward to returning.