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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Great Vegetarian Pizza Test

It's been bugging me for years - the question concerning whose pizza is better... so yesterday I finally just took the leap and went out and bought two vegetarian pizzas from two separate outlets.

Sidenote 1: Yes, this taste test was limited to two major pizza chains. As far as gourmet pizza goes, I have to say that Posticino's in Sea Point is pretty tough to beat. 

Sidenote 2: I'm a rabid meat eater. But slap so much as a sliver of a hint of anything that bled on my pizza and i kill you. Seriously. No, really. So when you order pizza for me... ixnay with the meatnay. Anyway...

So... two medium sized pies for the expert panel (of two people)... and by medium I mean rather smaller than the medium I remember from the 80s.

First criteria - price. And to alleviate and standard discrepancies both have extra mozzarella ordered. Pizza Elmo: R53; Pizza Debbie R52. Marginal  as to irrelevant price difference.

But then it gets weird. We decided that Elmo was a lot more appealing to look at at. It seemed more "put together" and "pretty" if that's how you want to put it.

Ultimately, though, you don't buy a pizza to look at it, and in the final analysis we agreed that Debbie just had the more satisfying taste. I felt the tomato base was what made the difference for me. 

So now I know when someone suggests we get Pizza and asks from where... I 'll say... Debonaires.

What's your experience?


  1. As a (bordering on fanatical) pizza maker myself, I run 3 unbreakable rules:

    1. Pizzas shall be made in wood burning ovens. At at least 500 deg F. In fact I know of some uber authentic joints that use 900+ deg F ovens to get that perfectly blistered crisp-yet-slightly-chewy base.

    2. Pizza bases should be (verging on) paper-thin. It is not a breadfeast. Nor a pie. Deep dish pizzas are not pizzas. Even those 1cm thick bases are doughverkill. The base should be cooked at such a high temperature that it doesn't have time to rise.

    3. The toppics should be minimal (and high quality). Pizzas should not collapse under the weight of the toppings. Nor should there be 7 meats, 6 veg and 3 layers of cheese. That's AMERICAN. (And we all know what the Yanks do with everything). Sometimes less is more. The same goes for sauces etc. They wouldn't be required if the ingredients were fresh and flavourful. (The best way to test a pizza joint's chops is by ordering a Margarita. It'll give you the perfect perspective on the base, the tomato sauce and the quality of the cheese.)

    As far as the review goes: Debonairs pizzas are made on a (heat element) conveyor belt. They use sauces (on most of their 'pizzas'). Their bases are thick, bready and not properly yeasted. They're cooked at too low a heat, and as a result they rise a bit much too.

    Their vegetarian pizza is perhaps the closest to a "normal" pizza, and it gets a 4/10 from me.

    St Elmo's, well, at least they use wood burning ovens. But a high percentage of their pizzas have sauces too. Their bases are a bit thick, tending towards sweetish and they load on the toppings.

    Their veg pizza gets a 5/10.

  2. Still tasted better than the Elmo's I got.

  3. None of the pizza chains know how to make pizza. There's a joint in Main Road - near the Bantry Bay side - that makes decent thick crust California-style pizza. Otherwise, it's either Posticino or the place in Kenilworth. Bardelli. They're good too. They do load on the toppings and cheese. The best pizza I ever had was in italy. There, you have to ask for cheese. It's not loaded on automatically - it's a topping in its own right.

  4. bardelli, huh? might give that one a try. In Claremont sitting for the Slamwilson at the moment.