Everyone’s a winner with pizza.
Customers can’t get enough of that bread and cheese – it’s a hit with kids, people on dates and drunks on their way home.
It’s good for restaurants too – pizza is tricky to do well at home, the mark-ups are phenomenal and punters are always on the look-out for a new angle.
So even though Aber has Baravin and the Pier offering great pizzas in attractive settings, and there’s Domino’s for masochists, you can’t blame Pizza at No25 for joining the fray.
They’ve got a great location on North Parade between Oxfam and Sophie’s (I suspect she’s involved here)
First impressions when you walk in are good – it looks bright and informal and glitzy.
But two sights worry me.
Firstly, that chef is carrying a rolling pin for the dough.
Pizza dough should be stretched so you don’t flatten all the air out.
I use a rolling pin, but I’m not a professional pizzamon.
Secondly, it’s an electric, rather than a wood-fired oven, so there’s none of the romance of the round brick oven.
Pizzas will take a little longer, and I suspect won’t bubble or crisp up enough.
If there’s one thing that drives me mad, as an owner or customer, it’s two people sitting at a table for six when there are tables for two available.
We were a group of four, but it would have been a squeeze there, and I feared I might say something un-neighbourly.
So we sat looking out of the window.
This gives a great view of passers-by (and idiots nearly getting run over), although you are getting up every 3 minutes to close the door and keep the draughts out (lots of barn-dwellers in Aber).
The drinks menu is spot on – plenty of choice without being too long.
An excellent Californian Merlot was very good value at £4 for this attractive 250ml pitcher (or 500ml for £7), and a Brewdog Punk IPA for £3 is equally fair.
Milkshakes (£2) sound great, but the Dirty Shakes (£4.95) go into uncharted territory by becoming more of a dessert (“Strawberry Honeycomb Clotted Cream Shortbread”?!?).
The food range is easy to understand – flat breads with tasty topping.
There’s an interesting sounding Nachos Pizza for £6.95 (in fact, a box of nachos with a choice of pizza toppings – mmm!), Mezzaluna (Italian folded flat bread) and wraps for £4.95.
Sweet or savoury crepes are £4.50, but the main event are their pizzas.
I went for the top of the range Inferno Carne (£8.95) – fresh chilli, streaky bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni and tomato.
Certainly plenty of meat in there, and that tomato sauce was very good indeed.
What it wasn’t – for a pizza called Inferno – was noticeably hot.
And, as I feared, the base was disappointing.
Though quite thin, it was a touch doughy and floppy, making eating it hard – there’s no cutlery and when eating-in you eat out of a cardboard box.
A combination of rolling the dough, and a longer cook time, means you don’t get any of the air bubbles and blistering of a hand-stretched wood fired pizza pie (such as at Baravin).
I even wonder how much better than my homemade that base is –
The pattern of bland bases with good-quality toppings continued in the others.
Bethan had the ‘Fancy One’ (£7.95), with proscuttio, goat’s cheese, artichokes, rocket and not-very-noticeable pesto oil.
There was plenty of topping, and Bethan pointed out the generally good choice available.
You don’t get artichokes – her favourite – in your average pizza joint, and we were pleased to see a decent choice of veggie toppings.
Nephew made up his own pizza of meatballs, red onion and pepperoni (£7.95).
Initially his came with peppers instead of pepperoni, but this was replaced without fuss, although he did then end up eating more of the other pizzas than his own.
These pizzas aren’t world class, but they are tasty and they are very good value.
We ordered four pizzas for four hungry eaters, and we had a whole pizza left over to take away (since they’re served in the cardboard box you don’t need to ask for doggie bags).
Pizza 25 isn’t an authentic pizzeria, but it doesn’t claim to be. We could well imagine sitting out on the pavement on a sunnier day, sharing a few slices and swigging one of those 500ml carafes of Merlot.
We’ll certainly be going back to try Nachos Pizza, and maybe a dessert milkshake.
But for a top-end pizza, I think The Pier and Baravin are safe for the moment.
Like Fusion King, Pizza no25 has carved itself a useful niche.
Pizza at no25
25 N Parade, Aberystwyth SY23 2JN
Phone: 01970 358040