…It’s been awhile. Sorry about that.
For me, life kinda got in the way including an ongoing house move and a change of job, but hopefully that will all be resolved shortly. Anyway onto business!
AtPizza (or @Pizza) might be seen as a curious blog post to return on. Especially as the rest of foodie Twitter in Birmingham is going on about either Rudy’s or Franco Manca, both located on Bennetts Hill. Probably staring at each other with steely gazes, waving their pizza peels from respective windows. But I thought I’d turn my gaze to the other new pizzeria in Birmingham which opened in 2019.
@Pizza has taken a different methodology to either of the above. It’s what I’d like to call “brisk food”. Not fast food per se but neither meant to be a dining experience that lasts above an hour. It’s in commuter and shopper land for a start. Designed for a reasonably fast paced meal without having your food thrown in a paper bag by a surly teen, thrust upon you with the grace of your passport in a post Brexit EU.
It’s also rectangular, which brought horrible flashbacks of working make table, crafting Pizza Hut’s The Quad very many moons ago (old enough that it was advertised during Pop Idol!).
The food offerings in Grand Central have had a swap-around over the past 12 months, with Slim Chickens trying to make chicken strips seem novel, Herman ze German displaying his Phallic glory for all to see, and Pig and Apple happy to serve a Yorkie to those travellers from the North flying through New St below. Even Tapas Revolution seems a venerable eatery amongst the group. @Pizza is nestled against “cheeky” chain chicken slingers Nando’s one side, purveyors of all things yellow and carb loaded Holy Moly Macaroni the other.
Founded in Edinburgh in 2017, this is @pizza’s second location. The concept is simple: you grab yourself a menu and a table at either one of the side booths, a table or along the bench running parallel to the prep area. You pick your choice of pizza (7 options or you can Create Your Own (they boast over 64,000 combinations). You head up to the prep counter, pick your meal and it’s made in front of you, and then side shuffle the few paces further down to the till to choose beverages and pay. For those not of a rectangular dough fixation, there’s salad as an option too.
Beverages come in choices of either hard (craft beer, cider or wine) or soft with water, juice or their own craft soda’s being the options. Desserts are 3 ‘dessert pizzas’ or ice cream sundaes.
Grazing through the menu, I picked the ‘Eat Meat Repeat’ (Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Wiltshire Ham, Spicy Beef, Gran Moravia Cheese, Oregano) but swapped the tomato base for BBQ because who wouldn’t?
Wifey selected the ‘Mean Greens’ (Pesto, Mixed Leaves, Baby Spinach, Rocket, Basil, Tomberry®Tomatoes, Red Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Mozzarella Pearls, Caesar Dressing). This one confused me for a second as they basted the dough with the pesto sauce, then slapped it in the oven. I enquired, slightly panicked, about the toppings. Apparently they’re added post cooking (which takes about 90 seconds) to keep them nice and fresh.
Beverages were sorted with two of their craft sodas which are serve yourself and in six flavours. I selected Mango & Blood Orange, whilst Wifey had Sicilian Lemonade.
I was surprised by how well cooked it was after such a short trip on their conveyor oven. The custom BBQ base added a nice tang to the meaty feast in front of me. A mass of umami with a touch of spicy heat from the beef to complement.
Wifey’s bread was more akin to a good garlic bread than a traditional pizza, a more than generous collection of vegetation under Caesar dressing had been assembled on top. All was fresh and crisp, and the Tomberry® tomatoes and mozzarella pearls added little pops of flavour throughout.
However, one thing spoilt my enjoyment of pinching Wifey’s food. That is the lurking presence of rocket. It’s a nasty leaf, more spiteful and bitter than Rupert Murdoch’s entire press portfolio. It’s related to broccoli and kale, I’d happily chuck all three in the bin for their crimes against my palate. The ubiquitous use of said ‘dandelion leaf equivalent’ in salads across the UK has reached peak annoyance and to be honest. I wish it would go back to lurking unloved in a yellow stickered bag on a supermarket shelf. It adds nothing to a salad and actually takes flavour away from other veg in a salad like the horrible vegetable urchin it is.
After a forensic extraction from my stolen slice, it was a very nice and refreshing salad with an oomph of flavour from the pesto. Like a refined Philadelphia cheese advert.
Tidying away and getting ready to leave, the duty manager offered us some takeout cups (recyclable and made from plants BTW) to avail ourselves of the soda dispenser for our journey to the train. I had a mix of flavours, whilst Wifey had herself an iced tea. We both left content and happy with our selections. We won’t hesitate to return soon next time we’re in Grand Central.
If you’re in the mood for pizza after a shopping session at Bullring or Grand Central, or just fancy a quick bite with comfy seating, you’d not put a foot wrong crossing their threshold.
For those who want a quick lunch or dinner on the way home, they do takeout and app ordering too! Lovely.
NB. Dinner was paid for via means of a LivingSocial voucher bought by Wifey and a tip from me. They were not informed I was writing about the venue for my blog.
Where: @Pizza, Unit 33, Grand Central, Stephenson Place, B2 4BF,