2018 really does seem to be the year of the vegan. New vegan items are constantly appearing in the supermarkets and restaurants seem to be trying to outdo each other with their vegan menus. It wasn’t so long ago I was practically shedding a tear of joy at Zizzi’s launching a vegan menu, cut to now and it seems every pizza joint in town is ready to pile on the vegan cheese. What a time to be alive.
The latest to add vegan cheese to their menu are PizzaStorm, a fast-food pizza restaurant which can be found in Nottingham and Newcastle. The Newcastle restaurant, based in Eldon Square, is the perfect place for a quick pit-stop during a weekend shopping trip, and when they invited me to come and try out their new vegan offering, I was delighted to accept.
PizzaStorm sports a quirky, industrial interior – think neon red signs, writing on the walls & naked lightbulbs, but one of my favourite visual aspects of the restaurant is their fiery pizza oven which stands proud behind their counter ready to create that perfect crispy base.
PizzaStorm allows you to get creative with your pizzas; you can create your own concoction of unlimited toppings on an 11 inch sourdough base for £6.55. Their dough is pressed in a machine to create a perfectly round and thin base, and then you can make your way along the counter choosing all your favourite veggies as your server piles them up on your base.
First you’ve got to decide whether you’d like a classic or spicy tomato base and then on goes the vegan cheese. You’ve got all the veggies you would expect to be able to choose from, although it is worth noting that the butternut squash is no-go for vegans as it is cooked in honey – which was helpfully pointed out to me by my server. I opted for mushrooms, red onions, spinach, tomatoes, olives and chopped garlic. Me and Michael both ordered a side of wedges – the only vegan side, I think PizzaStorm are missing a trick here by not offering a vegan garlic bread (hint hint 👀).
If chances of cross-contamination are something that bother you, it is worth being aware that all of PizzaStorm’s toppings, including their dairy-free cheese, share the same counter. Other similar restaurants we’ve tried have helpfully had spare toppings and their dairy-free offerings kept in separate containers under the counter, massively reducing the risk of a sneaky bit of dairy finding it’s way onto your pizza.
When I say PizzaStorm is “fast-food” I mean it, with your pizza cooked in just 180 seconds. We helped ourselves to a refillable cordial drink – which I have to say came in a range of refreshing flavours such as elderflower & apple and rhubarb & rosehip, making a nice change from the usual soft-drink offerings – and by the time we’d sat down our pizza and wedges were nearly ready.
Now, I do like to think of myself as somewhat of a vegan pizza connoisseur, and I have to admit, this one was pretty damn good. The vegan cheese they use is soy-based, rather than coconut based which the likes of Zizzi’s and Ask Italian use, and it offered quite a different taste and texture. I find the one’s I’ve tried at other pizza restaurants, although delicious, have more of a saucy quality, whereas this had much more of cheesy vibe – more like a cheddar than a mozzarella.
At first I wasn’t convinced by the choice to use the pizza dough press over a more traditional “hand-stretched” approach, but the base was absolutely perfect. Thin and crispy with enough strength to hold all of your toppings and that delicious sourdough flavour. The wedges were a lovely accompaniment to the meal, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.
I really can’t criticise the food at all, especially considering the price and speed; it was the perfect lunch time treat. Will you be trying out PizzaStorm’s new vegan pizzas?! Let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: I was invited to review PizzaStorm’s vegan pizzas free of charge, but all opinions are, obviously, my own ☺️