With a name like Pizza Punks, you could be forgiven for thinking that spikes, studs, chains and military-style boots are required to enter Leeds’ newest pizza restaurant. Thankfully, this isn’t the dress code.
With outlets in Belfast, Glasgow and Newcastle, Pizza Punks is designed with ‘punk vibes’ throughout. The idea behind the aesthetic is that freedom and expression gives the company a blank canvas to do whatever it pleases. The Leeds site used to be home to MOD (Made on Demand) pizza, so it’s possible to say that the place has morphed from Mod to Punk. I did wonder if it was all going to be (Johnny) Rotten or Good (Charlotte).
As you might expect, Pizza Punks also boasts an extensive cocktail menu with punk-appropriate names, including Dazed and Confused and Dead Punks Society. There’s even one named after New Order’s Blue Monday, all done in True Faith, of course.
Unfortunately, the evening didn’t begin too well. We had to wait more than 20 minutes for our drinks due to a ‘technical issue’, and then they couldn’t find a corkscrew to open the wine. Bringing some water to the table in the interim would have been appreciated. After that hiccup, though, the service was friendly and speedy.
Starters range from a basic Garden Salad (£3) to a Vegan Mac n’ Cheese (£6). My Punk Mac n’ Cheese (£5) came with some seriously mature cheddar, Parmesan and Mascarpone. Strong enough to bring a smile to the face of any self-respecting punk.
The brains behind Pizza Punks reckon that pizza is the new punk. In short, they’ve decided to throw away the rule book and take the best bits from Neapolitan pizza by using the finest Italian ingredients and methods, and introduce them to their sourdough starter which is sourced from the famous Boudin Bakery in San Francisco.
The sourdough used in-house is handmade and double fermented for a minimum of 48 hours to give it maximum flavour. After that, what you choose to top your £11.00 pizza with is entirely up to you. The price remains the same regardless of the number of toppings. Or, if you prefer a simpler pizza, their own classics are also included on the menu. The kitchen is open-plan, which allows plenty of opportunity to watch your pizza being made.
My Cheeseburger pizza (£10) came with red sauce, mozzarella, meatballs, burger relish, burger sauce, diced onion, pickles and American cheese. I thought that the sourdough base gave it a stronger and more distinctive taste. However, the mustardy taste (which I reckon was the burger relish) didn’t really go with a pizza. But it still ranked highly in my pizza stakes. My partner chose the Proscuitto pizza (£10) topped with red sauce, fior Di Latte, prosciutto, rocket, Parmesan, balsamic and mushrooms. The verdict? A seriously good pizza on a par with those found in Naples.
The dessert menu is short and, unlike your regular punk, incredibly sweet. My Choc Chip Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich (£6) was creamy, while my other half’s Caramelised Pineapple Cheesecake had enough bite to make even the sturdiest Mohican stand on end.
Naturally, the playlist is loosely based on punk, which, during our visit, ranged from The Jam, The Beat and Blondie to Led Zeppelin. You can also access the playlist via a QR code, which I only could see on the inside one of the pizza boxes. A better idea might be to include the QR code on the menu.
While it might be anarchy in the oven, we found Pizza Punks to be well in order.