I was going to use a terrible title for this blog post – Purezza: Vegan Sparkle – a very terrible play on words involving Meghan Markle. But given I’ve had to explain it and it’s beyond cheesy, I haven’t.
Speaking of cheese, and I so often do, when invited to the soft launch of Purezza, cheese was at the forefront of my mind (it so often is).
A plant-based pizza restaurant, Purezza is a first for the UK and opened its latest branch on High Street in the Northern Quarter.
Purezza’s range of creative Neapolitan-style pizzas features its own patented plant-based mozzarella – the recipe is a closely guarded secret but is made using plants, is hypoallergenic, and tastes, looks and melts just like the real thing. The bases are made from a unique wholegrain sourdough and each organic topping and ingredient is ethically sourced and carefully selected. The restaurant also serves a full gluten-free menu, including pizzas which are indistinguishable from regular sourdough.
So far, so impressive. But is it tasty? I was going in for the full cheese test.
We ordered dough balls filled with cheese, roasted garlic and herb potatoes drenched in cheese, and for the main pizza event, ‘The Margherita One’ with added smoked mozzarella, and my plus 1 ordered ‘The One with the Friarielli’ (he broke free from the ultimate cheese-fest with , the rebellious little rascal).
There was no neon sign flashing ‘caution, vegan food at play’. It happened to be vegan and happened to be delicious. It wasn’t served up as a pretender to anything (and nor should it be). Happens to be plant-based which happens to be high on the healthy scale and happens to be delicious.
The dough balls were hotter than the sun, containing molten vegan cheese. They felt naughty but on the right side of virtuous.
Ditto the herby potatoes covered in vegan cheese (you know what let’s just call it cheese – my taste buds didn’t split hairs on this so why should I?).
Pizzas though. Let’s talk pizzas.
Whilst the fixtures and fittings provide a fantastic backdrop – modern, intimate, stylish…the tables could do with being a little bigger. But for a positive reason – the pizzas arrive plentiful and large (boxes available to take away any slices you can’t put away in one sitting).
The base (we both had wholemeal but you could also choose hemp or freedom (gf) was so light and the best I’ve had in years.
The Margherita One has a red tomato base, with artisan, organic, rice based (I opted for smoked) mozzarella, topped with basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil.
Light, fresh ingredients that transport you straight to Italy (remember going places?), a classic delight.
The One with the Friarielli was on a white base with mozzarella, chilli peppers, friarielli (Italian style tender broccoli), crumbled sausage, chilli flakes and garlic oil.
Attacked with vigour, dignity retained, the pizza was polished off in one fell swoop (I had to concede taking some of mine home in a box) and reported to be flavoursome with the satisfactory bite and heat you’d expect from any dish containing two ingredients of the chilli variety.
My plus 1 and I are not vegan (must try harder) but if this is typical of all plant-based fayre, what on earth have we been waiting for?
Purezza opens officially today, Mon 21 June, and comes fully recommended by this cheese lover (vegan or otherwise).
For full menu details and bookings, head to https://purezza.co.uk/locations/manchester/