I know that not everyone is thrilled with the trend of 'gourmetifying' food. You see it in hot dog stands, ice-cream parlours, sauce ranges and even snacks. To some, it's capitalizing on the hype generated from the age of TV chefs and cooking programs. To me, it's simply a matter of otherwise average food made better.
I've been outspoken about my lack of interest in conventional, fast food pizza on this blog several times before. Overall, when I think of pizza, I want fresh ingredients and a thin and crispy base. Italian-style. That's not to say there's no place in my life for the heartier, speedier and cheaper comfort food variety offered by the big name pizza chains. My issue with the usual products available from likes of Pizza Hut and Domino's is a) the lack of interesting topping choices and b) the lack of quality ingredients. That's why even when I dial a pizza, I incline towards Pizza Capers for its menu options, which ends up being near as expensive as just going out to buy a 'proper' pizza anyway.
This is why I was excited to hear that Domino's had expanded its menu with a new collection of Chef's Best pizzas. These are 8 different pizzas created to suit consumer demand for more toppings and, better yet, restaurant-quality toppings. The range can be seen here and includes some mouth-watering and original options, such as BBQ Duck and Blue Cheese and Shiraz Lamb and Tomato.
I was lucky enough to be able to try two of the new Chef's Best pizzas tonight. My first observation was of the stylish black box with matte finish. Is that an important feature of a pizza? Probably not but I liked it all the same.
The next thing I noticed was that the pizzas are rectangular-shaped instead of round. Each was cut into 6 slices so if you're sharing, recall that a regular, large round pizza is divided into 8 approximilarly similar sized wedges to these rectangles, so you may need to adjust your order accordingly.
Chicken and camembert - with seasoned chicken, camembert, rasher bacon, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, red onion and mozzarella topped with hollandaise
I tried the chicken and camembert first. I thought it was delicious on first bite. Most pizza slices can be described as 'cheesy' or 'greasy' but this was JUICY in the best way possible. There were big chunks of melty camembert cheese that popped in my mouth. I love camembert and brie with crackers. I didn't realize how much better it was hot and dripping. The creamy hollondaise and tangy, sweet cherry tomato nicely complimented the chicken and the large pieces of bacon made it just that bit heartier.
BBQ duck and blue cheese - roast duck, rasher bacon, baby spinach, mushroom, blue cheese, red onion and mozarella on creme fraiche, topped with BBQ sauce
Our other flavor was the BBQ duck with blue cheese. We actually tried this without reading the description so we had some fun guessing what we were tasting. What Byron detected as 'Asian' was the BBQ duck. The blue cheese was very distinct and worked well with the other flavors.
Byron and I took some time to analyze the Chef's Best pizzas we tasted tonight. I definitely thought they were MUCH tastier than other Domino's pizzas. I put it down to the fact that there was more topping and larger pieces of topping. We loved the sauces that were used but some of the duck was a tad dry. I personally prefer thin and crispy bases and I'm not sure if that's an option for this range but other than that, they're definitely something I'll be trying more of and recommending to others.