Crafting a pizza is pretty simple but creating something unique and memorable is becoming harder.
The indulgent takeaways, wood-fired artisan eateries, Italian-inspired restaurants and by-the-piece streetfood operators have crowded the market, so standing out is a challenge in itself.
MOD Pizza has now brought its own DIY interpretation of the classic pizza recipe to Leeds – and it certainly is different.
The firm, founded in Seattle in 2008, has opened its first UK restaurant in Kirkstall.
It is a ‘create your own’ dish restaurant where you choose from up to 30 toppings on an 11 inch, thin and crispy base and pay a standard price of £7.47.
There are also ‘mini’ six inch pizzas (£4.47) and ‘mega’ double crust pizzas (£10.47) as well as health-conscious salads for the same prices.
MOD offers guidance with nine suggested pizza topping mixes, ranging from simple ‘Maddy Marie’ margheritas to the white sauce, basil, Asiago cheese, mild sausage, red onion and tomato ‘Dominic’ pizzas.
Intrigued, we walked in to a chorus of staff saying “hi guys”. The Americanised greeting set the scene in this glass panelled unit, which used to house a Harvester but is now a modern and slightly industrial space.
We were enthusiastically guided through the Subway-style ordering system and asked for our names so we could be called to collect our food.
We opted to try some of their classic pizzas, with a tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, mild sausage and ground beef ‘Mad Dog’ and a mozzarella, mushroom, roasted red pepper, Asiago and pesto ‘Tristan’.
After ordering we were guided through MOD’s drinks, including draught BrewDog or Estrella lagers, wine, floats, milkshakes or fountain drinks. The latter offers you free reign of a Coke Bridge machine, which allows you to pick one of 35 varieties of soft drinks.
Anyway, the pizzas literally take four minutes to cook in a huge 300C oven, so we quickly got stuck into our meals which came on white plastic plates.
The Mad Dog was a meat-heavy, tasty pizza although it was mildly overcooked in parts and the multitude of meats did create a slightly salty aftertaste.
The Tristan came full of melted cheeses, and the soft mushrooms and peppers added texture to the dish. The pizza, drizzled in pesto, worked well.
Drinks-wise we went for a San Pellegrino sparkling blood orange juice and fountain drinks including cherry Coke and the zesty MOD strawberry lemonade. Our bill came to a reasonable £19.88.
MOD’s classic pizzas are good but not outstanding, although the appeal of this place is in its DIY nature, variety, speed of service and value. You can create something you simply can’t get anywhere else.