If you were making a list of the cuisines in Leeds waiting for a plucky newcomer to arrive and shake it up, Oliver suspects pizza might not be included.
Diners in need of a slice of flattened bread covered with cheese, tomato and other toppings are already well catered for. But the people behind Burt & Nelly, in the heart of Meanwood, think they have something different to bring to the party.
As Oliver ventures over on a drab, wet, Tuesday night, the initial signs are a little underwhelming. ‘Eat-in’ is advertised on what is otherwise a takeaway menu, but it’s hard to imagine many people taking it up. The decor is mostly chipboard throughout. But it’s obvious where the unique selling point lies.
Topping combinations on Burt & Nelly’s list of savoury pizzas, available in 12, 14 and 16 inch, are enticing - and interesting enough to lure you in without grasping for the novelty factor.
There’s a Ballpark, with beef frank, bell peppers, celery salt and yellow mustard, or at the more expensive end, the French Dip, serving up brisket, wild mushrooms and garlic butter. We opt for a 12 inch Baby Blue, with candied bacon, blue cheese and sweetcorn, and Magic Mushroom, topped with ricotta, caramelised onion, wild mushrooms and truffle oil.
Both are surprisingly sweet, but no less tasty for that, and served up in the New York style: thin crust, wide slices and pliable enough to fold in half.
The sweetness of the abundant sweetcorn in the Baby Blue is balanced out nicely by the saltiness of the cheese and bacon, and it goes down a treat.
The Magic Mushroom is more delicate, without such a strong flavour (we wondered if a stronger cheese than ricotta might have been an idea) but equally delicious in its own way.
Temptingly out of our budget is a range of sweet pizzas, including the remarkable-sounding combination of peanut butter, toasted marshmallows, white chocolate chips and Maltesers, and a refrigerated display of gelatos that wouldn’t look out of place on the streets of Rome.
Wanting a sweet treat to round off the meal (my Dad’s Root Beer is slightly medicinal-tasting, though oddly enjoyable) I scour the milkshakes menu.
The result, a Nutereous, made with nutella, crushed-up Oreo biscuits and whipped cream, is as indulgent as it sounds. If a McDonald’s chocolate milkshake is like a pint of bitter, this is the equivalent of a 7.4 per cent Trappist brew and delivers a huge hit of chocolate and creamy flavour.
All told the bill comes to £24.50, a little above average for pizza but worth it for a meal that brings something different to a tried and tested formula.