Pizza Hut. For me, it’s synonymous with birthday parties in elementary school, post-movie dinners, and of course, throwing my arms in the shape of a triangle at 00s discos.
As a standalone institution, you can step into every Pizza Hut across the country and know exactly what to expect. However, a branch in the capital has some pretty shocking reviews.
Rated just two stars on Tripadvisor, the reviews say the place in Surrey Quays has “rude staff”. Despite 3.5 stars on Google, the guests are just as disappointed. One says the food “tastes like it has been in the freezer for two years and cooked at least three times”.
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Reading these endless comments about the staff and the “disgusting” food made me wonder how bad a Pizza Hut can really be. Sure they are all the same?
After not being in a store for many, many years, I decided to head east and see if the restaurant really deserved that online reputation.
Now when I look back on this underground journey, I am convinced that I have somehow fallen back in time. I felt like I went to my local restaurant for a pizza buffet on a Saturday in 2009 instead of going to the Surrey Quays branch like a 23 year old journalist to test some bad reviews.
From the long black leather couches to the brightly colored wooden chairs and the rainbow colored ice cream maker, this was the Pizza Hut I remember.
Only on an exceptionally quiet Wednesday lunchtime did it feel tired, dated and almost apocalyptic, like no other restaurant had survived and that was all that was left.
I could see the good old lunch buffet shine in the fading light. Stickers hung limply on the wall as if they were half-heartedly warning me about the mediocre food. Remnants of pizza crumbs led me to one of the many empty tables.
To test the waiting time, I decided to order a pizza from the menu – which I had to do online.
As I was choosing my toppings, I noticed that the one waitress on duty was having a conversation with another diner. The woman was without a smartphone and asked if she could order through the employee instead. However, this was greeted with a rather harsh “everyone else did it today” before a rude “you can’t order there”.
Heartbroken kid in tow, she was essentially kicked out of the restaurant by the waitress. Then I prepared for the reported “rude” service to come upon me.
As a spice lover, I ordered a Hot ‘N’ Spicy Chicken Pizza in an individual menu and waited quietly for it to arrive.
Within a minute, the same waitress, who now smiled and greeted me politely, brought my bowl for the salad buffet and the drink glass.
It seems that she was picky about her manners because after handing me my dishes, she reached out to a group nearby and told them that the high chair they were using was a trip hazard and they weren’t going to put it there could. I’m not exactly sure where she wanted to put this instead. Maybe on the table?
Maybe she was nice to me for feeling sorry for me when I was alone in a Pizza Hut, but I wasn’t going to risk falling on the wrong side.
I managed to get past other high chairs without tripping and went to get my salad.
Ah, the Pizza Hut salad bar. A legendary feature where we kids filled our bowl with pieces of bacon and tortilla chips and called it “salad”.
I can officially report that not much has changed on my bowl other than adding a “healthy bit” or two, mostly for aesthetic reasons.
It is well known that cucumbers consist of around 96 percent water. But somehow this was the driest cucumber I’ve ever bitten into. It was like a bit of magic that it existed at all, every disc was completely empty.
The good old pieces of bacon, chips and onions were crispy, but the limp arugula leaves were correspondingly sad.
In my own world, listening to the soundtrack of matching 90s / 00s boy band songs and picking out the tasty pieces of my salad, I was surprised when my pizza (again with an alarming smile) came by within exactly 10 minutes of my order became.
However, I was much more surprised at the size. I laughed audibly as I blinked down.
That pizza, which cost me £ 15.99 on sale and cost £ 12.29 alone, was tiny. There’s no way that this size was intended for an adult. It was a kid-sized pizza.
I actually thought I made a mistake. I could cover this dish with my hand.
In my opinion it is scandalous. You can get bigger pizzas from much better places in central London for less than a ten. The Pizza Hut rip-offs chatter at us all.
I think this size was adequate for a lunch special, but come on, I got ripped off. I don’t remember the pizzas were that small in the 00’s and I was a big kid.
With the smallness in mind, the toppings were spread out and cooked evenly in the pan, so that was an advantage.
Since I loved a bit of heat and kick, I expected something to bite into a “hot” and “spicy” pizza. I didn’t feel anything.
In my opinion, throwing a couple of jalapenos at something doesn’t make you hot; They’re an addition to something that’s already gripping the heat.
This would have been better if the chicken, although decently cooked, had actually been seasoned. Instead, it was boring and tasteless.
What a waste of life if not even seasoned on your pizza deathbed.
Still, I enjoyed eating it. I like Pizza Hut’s batter – it’s thick, fluffy, and has a decent taste. When they married, the tomato sauce was rich and the cheese was sticky.
We won’t go through the argument that Pizza Hut is not “authentic” – of course it isn’t. It’s American style and is pizza in itself.
Compared to other (arguably) rip-off chains like Dominos, I prefer Pizza Hut. The actual pizza taste is better. I will fight for it.
But there is still no excuse for asking so much. I strongly doubt any care was taken to make this tiny circle of dough “fresh” and you can easily get more bang for your buck elsewhere
After the “deal” where I got my pizza, I also got a side of french fries. And what a sad sight they were.
They weren’t crispy, but neither were they floppy. They were just plain, unseasoned oven chips.
The kind your mom tossed in the oven with a quick frozen pizza after school when you were hoping for a takeaway treat.
In desperate need of some flavor, I asked the creepy staff member for some salt. Well, if you thought the fuel crisis was bad, it turns out that Surrey Quays Pizza Hut is running out of salt.
Obviously I don’t know who else is struggling with this, but apparently they haven’t had salt shipped in ages and their poor chips are crying out for some.
But salt or not, I wouldn’t say this is the worst place ever. It’s just a pizza hut.
It’s the same as any other run-down, exhausted place across the country. You know exactly what to expect and you get it.
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And if you know Pizza Hut you know how ridiculous I was not to get the buffet lunch. I could easily have had a lot more pizza with different toppings for almost half the price.
So basically don’t bother going to lunch if you don’t want to make the most of that. I suffered for my choices.
The guys at Pizza Hut are probably laughing now because they know they took 15 pounds off me for some pathetic slices of pizza.
Simply put, it’s an absolute rip off and this multinational company is playing our mistakes.
Do you have a favorite hidden gem restaurant that you think we should know about? If so, send an email to [email protected]