I’d never have expected to review fast food joints. After all, everyone’s been to them at some point in their lives, and to be honest, everyone has at one point become sick and tired of the questionable quality and nutritional value such food has to offer. It’s still “fast” food though, and they’re everywhere, which is why they’re not going away.
I suppose it’s a good thing when FF joints try to amp it up, and deliver higher-quality offerings to customers. As a business model, it makes an incredible amount of sense – leverage your existing [huge!] network of stores and supply chains to provide a premium product tier to your customers. There is a market for that, this food blogger being one such customer.
What a surprise then, when last week Domino’s Pizza contacted me to try out two of their new range of “Chef’s Best” pizzas. I don’t exactly order from FF pizza joints often (once a year would be generous), so forgive me if you’ve already heard of this range and I haven’t. So let’s see what this is all about…
Disclaimer: pizzas were provided by Domino’s Pizza free of charge including free delivery for my sampling. This does not affect my true and personal views on how they taste – if I can’t convince you of my non-bias here then…well what can I do about that? At least I’m getting free pizza
Date Delivered: 25/03/2013
Address: Any Domino’s branch – mine was from the Penshurst branch
Go-to dish: I’ve only tried two, but I preferred the BBQ Duck w/Blue Cheese Pizza
So what’s the deal with these new Chef’s Best pizzas? Simply put – a whole line of higher-quality (or ‘restaurant-quality’ as Domino’s would put it) toppings and post-baking sauces which aim to deliver the flavours that you’d be expecting at a restaurant. Where it aims to beat them is its price – at $10.95, the price part is already in Domino’s favour. How about the taste?
First impressions of the packaging are quite good – the black sheen and the design speaks that there’s something that’s not your usual FF pizza inside, but it’s the inside that counts.
These were the two pizzas I picked to get delivered. One of the first things you generally realise about fast food is how ‘unappetising’ it looks when you get it, vs the insatiable pictures the advertisers put online and in the media. Usually when you get FF pizzas they look quite flat and dull, like they’ve been sitting there for awhile. I was pretty impressed at how well these pizzas held up visually - especially considering that they spent time being hauled to my place, so I’d imagine it would be fresher looking if picked up right from the store.
Let’s take a closer look at the shiraz lamb pizza.
The yoghurt sauce is ample, the base not thick enough to be deep dish, but not thin enough to be thin and crispy either. I personally prefer pizzas that are even thinner, like Bonci’s, but this was fine by me considering the heavy sauce.
I quite liked it, though I found that much of the flavour had to be delivered from the base and the yoghurt sauce itself. The lamb, to be honest, didn’t add too much to it and tasted much like crumbly bits of breading that’s been packed together. I wasn’t really impressed by this. That said, take a whole slice as one, and you’d still think it’s ‘premium’ quality – for a fast food pizza that is.
Restaurant quality? I wouldn’t say that.
Now for the BBQ Duck – and this one’s done a 180.
Alrighty, now this is actually a pizza I can get behind. It packed with flavour. The duck can be readily tasted and its fatty nature shines through quite easily (health warning!!), the blue cheese is not overpowering, as some of you may be inclined to think (and fair enough – pure blue cheese is powerfully stinky stuff), but instead is added in a quantity that definitely complements the rest of the pizza. In fact, the pizza probably wouldn’t have that premium taste if it weren’t for the blue cheese – whatever flavour scientists (yes, they exist) came up with this combination ought to be rewarded.
The inclusion of bacon rashers – that’s brilliant. I personally reckon you could put bacon on anything and it will become better, so this ticks a box I didn’t even intend for to exist!
What bonds it altogether is the Crème fraîche base, +1 to premium.
I can say that if you order this pizza freshly made, you may genuinely think it could belong to a local pizzeria.
What might differ though?
1) The duck, while great, is extremely fatty – more often than not I end up eating what were clearly fatty bits. I don’t want to accuse Domino’s of using duck scraps, but boy it just felt like the ratio of proper lean duck meat to fatty parts weren’t quite up to scratch
2) Overall, the pizza was still a bit oily, to the point where you could tell it’s kind of like a FF pizza. If the oil levels were reduced somewhat, that would be great.
Pizza Hut has a similar range of ‘gourmet’ pizzas as known by its “Signature” range. I’ve had many of those before – Domino’s Chef’s Best, from what I’ve tried of their range, is definitively better. The shiraz lamb pizza could use a lot of improvement, but the duck pizza has little ways to go to become a signature dish from Domino’s.
Keep it up guys.
P.S. if you guys want to get Domino’s Pizzas with discounts, please click through to The Raw Feed. They asked me to put this link up and I obliged – no gain was made on my side.
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three
The Good: great to see fast food joints trying to up the ante and put pressure on ‘proper’ pizzerias, and with a modicum of success as well
What could be improved: the shiraz lamb could use a flavour rework from the ground up, the BBQ duck pizza uses sub-par duck meat and is a bit too oily. Both could be changed reasonably.
I give Domino’s Pizza’s Chef’s Best range a grand total of seven Caesars out of ten – 7/10