The last time I went to Pizza Hut, before yesterday, was several years ago. If I’m honest, I only really remember having been twice in my life, although I must have gone more often than that, surely. One of the memorable moments marked the first time I went ‘into town’ unaccompanied by an adult; the reason for going to Pizza Hut was that there was a deal on that enabled us to get something like a whole £5.00 off the total bill – who can’t resist a bargain? The only other time that I remember going to Pizza Hut was when my family and I were all in town with one of my cousins before my sister’s piano exam. We had been shopping, I think, and my cousin had suggested going to Pizza Hut for lunch, most likely remembering the good prices from his ‘crazy’ student days, living just above the poverty line.
I went yesterday, after my sister and I (a lot older than we were during our previous visit) had decided to brave the horizontal rain (nothing new for Scotland) and take the train into town to visit a vintage clothes sale. (I bought two amazingly comfy shirts and a t-shirt incidentally, total price: £10.00.) We had continued our shopping for a bit, as we walked up Buchanan Street, ducking into New Look and Urban Outfitters in order to take a breather from the attack of the rain (I could only come up against it for brief moments; my eyebrows were at a severe risk of washing off). Managing to spend over an hour in each, we then decided that enough was enough and we needed to eat. Previous suggestions of food places had been Zizzis in Princes Square, but at this point we were a block or two above that, and neither of us had the heart to walk back down the street again. Another suggestion was DiMaggios but it was also deemed too far away. The ‘bagel place’ in Glasgow Central station had appealed (and I am definitely going to visit one day) but again, we couldn’t face the strenuous walking it would involve to get from Urban Outfitters to Central Station (looking back, it is pretty embarrassing how little effort we were prepared to put into a walk that, let’s face it, lasts about five minutes) and so we came to the conclusion that Pizza Hut, an admirable 50 metres away, would have to do.
It’s not a particularly glamorous way of presenting this food place, the chain of stores most likely built up from the sweat and blood of an optimistic, hard-working Italian man, wanting to send the irresistible, mouth-watering smells and flavours of his beloved home-country around the world. And it’s not to say that I don’t like Pizza Hut, because I do. I like most places that serve food. The thing is, I wouldn’t really ever choose to go there, unless I was feeling a bit poor. The deals and prices are good, I’ll give it that.
The food is good as well, but again, it just doesn’t really stand out to me. The menu, a large, intricately-designed thing, with fold-outs appearing just as you think you’ve come to the end of the road, looks promising. It’s dark and is filled with pictures of beautifully-prepared pizzas and desserts. But I think that is part of the problem. There are lots of pictures, but when it comes down to it, not really that many words. The font is medium-sized, and swirly, which helps the aesthetics of the menu, but not much besides.
Pizza Hut does pizzas, obviously, but there’s not really a massive selection of anything else. Some may say that I’m asking too much – it’s a restaurant designed to make pizzas, why does it need to branch out more? Because the competition is fierce, unfortunately. Although the menu offers a selection of starters, sides, pizza and pasta, along with a desserts menu, every single section seems oddly deprived. I know they are supposed to specialise in pizzas, but there are places such as DiMaggios with a choice of pizzas maybe double the size of Pizza Hut’s. (The word pizza is beginning to hurt my eyes.)
We weren’t hugely hungry, so we ordered a pizza to share, with a side of garlic bread fingers. When the pizza came (hot and steaming, thin-based and topped with a layer of tender chicken, soft mushrooms and gorgeous melted cheese), we went off to fill our plates with salad while it cooled. Giving credit to Pizza Hut, this is definitely an attraction. A buffet of free salad with your main, from almost everything you would want in salad (not that I’m really an expert in the rabbit food area) from bread croutons to crunchy, sour green apples to crisp, watery lettuce to nachos (nachos?!) and about ten different sauces. Pizza Hut may not have the top choice of pizzas, but their salad bar could win awards.
The food tasted very good. It wasn’t ‘excellent beyond comparison’ or contrastingly dire, but it sat comfortably in the top end of the spectrum. It was satisfying and filling; really what more can you really ask from food? The garlic bread fingers felt light and not too garlic-y, which is nice. It’s always a pleasure to find garlic bread that doesn’t sting your throat when you swallow it down, yet still has a certain zingyness to it. It was that type of garlic bread that had the garlic all the way through it, almost like a saturated sponge, but it was still subtle, and if you didn’t think about it too much then you wouldn’t know. I loved it.
The bill came to £13.75, due to me ordering a couple of orange juices as well (very nice orange juice, thanks), but all in all, definitely not a hefty sum (admittedly, the food was shared.) The service was great; our amazingly smiley and enthusiastic waitress checked up on us every quarter of an hour it seemed, but had the knack of knowing when to ask us if we were enjoying our and food, and would we like anything else? This is a delicate, rare skill that comes from experience and perfect-timing, very unlike some restaurant-workers who manage to jump in and disrupt every conversation just as it’s getting interesting (if you are reading this and happen to work in a restaurant, please try not to do this. I know it’s hard to find that ideal moment but when you don’t, it’s so, so, so annoying.)
Well, Pizza Hut, what can I say about our time together? You weren’t my first choice, and perhaps that’s because of your somewhat unexciting restaurant layout and bland menu (although the cookie dough desserts did catch my eye). Despite the downsides, there were many positives about the experience we had dining out for lunch. You do provide lower-calorie food options for those of us that haven’t been wise enough to have a small breakfast before going out. Your service was amazingly fast and the wait-time that I had for my food was probably one of the shortest I’ve ever had in a restaurant: gold star. You have a fabulous selection of greens that should be taken advantage of by those eating out. Your prices are not through the roof, and you do have good deals (although I can’t remember if there were any on yesterday). You are a place of convenience, of comfort and of good food. This time you unfortunately don’t get five stars in my eyes, but you do sit at a comfortable three-star rating.
Pizza Hut: if you’re in a rush in town but need to top up on some kcals, it’s definitely worth a visit!
Photo credit: http://www.bestdaily.co.uk