Change is always a little disconcerting, even in the constantly-evolving Leeds food scene.
Little Oliver was a massive fan of Homage2Fromage, a pop-up cheese cafe at the LAB bar which offered something genuinely different and innovative with a real indie spirit. But its all-too-brief six month tenure came to an end a few weeks ago, with the suggestion of a Doctor Who-like reincarnation elsewhere in the city.
It was with a sense of slight trepidation that I stepped through the same set of doors into Marvin’s Pizza Parlour, a Motown-inspired pop-up restaurant and the latest six-month venture of the all-conquering Jones Bar Group.
Sadly, we left feeling less than satisfied. The biggest problem, it seemed to us, was that the concept at Marvin’s is flawed from the off.
Ostensibly an ‘all-you-can-eat’ joint, what actually happens is that you order a pizza in the normal way, finish eating it, and then every ten minutes or so a member of staff will bring round some more slices of a different pizza for you to take or decline. It’s a half-way house between a genuine buffet-style ‘all-you-can-eat’ and an a la carte menu that isn’t very satisfying, particularly as the extra pizza isn’t carried through from the upstairs kitchen often enough.
When it comes, the pizza is decent enough, particularly if you arrive before 5pm and get your feed for £7.
My choice, The Four Tops, combines salty, crispy Parma Ham with olives and mushrooms to good effect, though the fourth ‘top’ on the menu, rocket, is nowhere to be seen. The base is on the doughy side, which is not a problem in itself, but tasted a little bland - and the whole package is not quite in the same league as the likes of Dough Boys, Ecco and That’s Amore in the upper echelon of Leeds pizza.
My partner’s choice, Can’t Hurry Love, topped with ham and chicken, is saved by the addition of green pesto.
Away from the pizza itself, the free salad bar is not the most impressive of its kind and compares unfavourably in terms of choice with that of the average Morrisons.
There is some impressive Marvin Gaye graffiti art on the wall however, combined with Motown classics playing in the background, in a bid to give the place a bit of atmosphere.
Cocktails, milkshakes and some pleasant-sounding desserts are on offer, and a pint of craft ale and orange juice takes the bill just over the £20 mark, which constitutes good value for a lunch out given that, in theory at least, there is unlimited pizza to eat.
But I can’t see myself hurrying back, at least until the LAB bar welcomes its next tenant in a few months time.
Marvin’s Pizza Parlour: Merrion Centre, Merrion Way, Leeds, LS2 8BT
Phone: 0113 887 7281