March 19, 2010

Hell’s Pizza are a popular New Zealand pizza chain famous there for their ‘controversial’ (i.e. racist) advertising campaigns, who have spent the last few years trying to ingratiate themselves with the Antipodean community in London, currently now with 4 branches based around West London and Clapham.

Hell's Pizza


Having been to New Zealand and had food prepared with excellent ingredients, great technique and friendly service in even the most remote of locations, and also being a huge fan of the Kiwi owned Green Room (which also has a Kiwi chef who produces simple but consistently impressive fayre), I can say that Hell’s Pizza stays true to the urban stereotype of Antipodean travellers as couch surfing blaggards.

To be fair, there are plenty of very positive reviews bandied all over the internet but few are from within the last year, so maybe they’ve expanded too fast, and I’m not denying that maybe, long ago, in a former existence, Hell’s Pizza used to produce passable food, it’s just now, they can only be relied on to cause frustration and disappointment, as well as self hatred when you realise that they have TOTALLY AND TRULY RIPPED YOU OFF.

First, the good stuff, which ain’t a lot. The pizza boxes fold into little coffins to keep leftovers. This is amusing. And they have an online ordering system, which comes up with a lot of their items as unavailable. This is a big favour they’re doing for their customers as to be honest the food’s shit. I really want to say something else nice about them so I don’t seem like a total bitch but really, that’s it.

Anyway, so what’s it really like? Well, we ordered delivery from HP twice in a week, the first time ordering online, the second by telephone. Ordering online, paid online, the pizza arrived in just over half an hour, was the wrong side of warm, but passable. We tried to order kumara chips but got lemon pepper wedges instead, which were also mediocre but edible (like if you arrived for dinner late at your mate’s house). Overall quality of ingredients was average but we put this down to the lower quality of produce available in London in comparison to NZ. Tasted better as leftovers cos at least after microwaving it was properly hot.

The second time, we order by telephone, my Kiwi mate making the call to see if we could order the elusive sides, and also in the hope that with a Kiwi placing the order we could maybe get some special compatriot’s service. Turns out the experience is significantly more unpleasant than ordering anonymously online.

The pizza – less warm than before, ingredients of a similar mediocre quality
Kumara chips – flabby
Ribs – tiny portion of 4 small ribs, not meaty at all, and an overly sweet, watery marinade.

And here comes the kicker…. as well as charging above average (for London) prices for their pizzas, they also charge £2.50 delivery. This is well above the standard for deliveries in London; most place charge a maximum of £1, with free delivery if ordering more than £10 of food. We ordered a total of £15 worth of food, and were charged, including the delivery charge, £20. We received a dubious receipt which listed higher than advertised prices for each item. When we questioned this we were told that prices had increased which is why we were charged this amount, however the menu which they sent out accompanying our order still listed the OLD prices, and, though it warned that prices may increase without notice, it had not been amended at all to indicate that the prices were obsolete.

So we paid £20 for £15 worth of food – a 33% markup, which would make even good food have a bitter aftertaste, and made this bad food into a truly awful experience.

Overall, the opinion on Hell’s Pizza – Over priced, over rated, and over here…. avoid avoid avoid.

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