San Carlo Flying Pizza on Street Lane in Roundhay has a kind of swagger about it.
It’s part of a national chain, founded in Birmingham in 1922, with branches now in Bristol, Leicester, Manchester, Liverpool, London and Leeds, where there are two, the Roundhay one marking its 40th in February this year.
Whether you are driving, cycling or walking, you can’t miss it. There’s a huge covered outdoor seating area jutting out into the broad pavements they enjoy in that part of Roundhay.
Certainly, inside is very plush, if not a little too cluttered for my liking. We went there about 4pm (myself and three little ones in tow) and immediately I was on ‘don’t touch that’ duty as we wove between the immaculately set tables and the forest of polished glass which rose from them.
We were seated in the conservatory, which has a solid roof and so thankfully kept the sun off on what was one of the hottest days of the year. This being called the ‘flying pizza’, I decided to test that claim, because we were in a rush, having just over an hour before I had to get the kiddies back for a dance exam. I informed our waiter of this and asked whether they would be able to accommodate us and get food out in the allotted time and was assured this would not be a problem.
We began with four (count them) diet cokes, which costs £10 nowadays (it’s not just the Flying Pizza, of course, which suffers from this pricing malady). As we wait, the inevitable ‘I need the toilet’ moment arrives and so off I trot with the three of them upstairs to what turns out to be a wonderfully clean lavatory and along the way we are regaled by a colourful assortment of celebrity pictures, presumably from other San Carlo restaurants, the only one of which I can now remember being Noel Edmonds.
Back at the table and the food has still not arrived. Half an hour had passed and so I asked after it and was told it would be out imminently. About the same time, another waiter noticed the kids gawping at the roof and moments later he was pushing buttons on a remote control, which made the whole thing recoil, letting the sun in. I asked him to put it back, which he did.
Another ten minutes later and still no food, but a family on another table did get theirs (I think there were only three other tables in at the time). Finally, with just ten minutes before I had to leave, the food arrived and so the children ate some of it but I had to ask them to box it up almost straight away. Two margheritas (£7.95 each), piccante (£12.90), pizza prosciutto (£12.95) and spaghetti pomodoro with ham (extra £1).
The food was really great (if pricey) but it didn’t exactly fly.
San Carlo Flying Pizza, Roundhay, Leeds