Review: Pizza Hut

One thing's for sure, Pizza Hut remains an exceptionally useful option to have in the "food court" of Victoria Square. Beneath Nando's, alongside McDonald's, close to Wagamama and almost as close to (whisper it) Pizza Express, it's the filling in a restaurant sandwich of variety and reliability - both of which the all-you-can-eat buffet menu of salad, pasta and of course pizza offer in spades.
Although, with all the newer kids on the block like Opera and Little Wing, to name but a couple, the Hut’s place in the Belfast pizza chain feels like it’s been weakening of late. The closure of five NI outlets, including three in Belfast itself, towards the end of the noughties didn't help either. So what can, or does, help it today?
Plenty, as it turns out.
The Victoria Square branch is one of the more compact Pizza Huts around, giving an element of welcome calm and comfort to its gradually filling premises amidst the Christmas shopping and music.

The buffet's salad carousel is effectively staring me in the face the moment I walk in through the door, and the seating is structured well. So much so, actually, that it's very easy for individuals and families to get privacy and space if need be.
Brief conversations with the immensely helpful and friendly staff, namely manager Abdullah and waitress Kathleen, pass the time as I wait for the latest pizza to arrive. It duly does.
Pizza being pizza, I know it will be easy to eat, so it's a matter of picking and enjoying my favourites from a mixture of the Hut's most popular, a combination of regular and pan pizzas with no more than two toppings each.
The slices, for the most part, are small enough that I don't feel the bloat kicking in until my eighth, turning my afternoon into a sort of pizza taste test with the added bonus of free Pepsi refills on the side. 
Several pass the "test" with no trouble. The ham and pineapple goes down nicely, the pepperoni and jalapeño is a sound, lightly spiced treat, and the chicken and sweetcorn has a deliciously doughy crust, its airiness lending itself well to the sour cream dip provided by Abdullah on request.
Less successful is the panned margherita, where the hot tomato sauce swallows up the cheese. Similarly, the chorizo and onion doesn't quite agree with me, the flavour feeling more suited for a French starter than an Italian mains.
No matter, With or without dip, regular or pan, the BBQ Americano is a real taste bud tickler, just the right balance of sauce and meat accompanying a lusciously cheesy taste. It leaves me smiling as I tuck in to the self-made Caesar salad of my choice, which features a dressing as tangy as they come, crispy croutons and lightly tossed lettuce. 
After all that - it is so easy to eat with your eyes here - will I have room for dessert?
Yes, I will. Adhering to Kathleen's recommendation of the cookie dough - one of my favourite ice cream flavours, so of course I can't resist it - I am greeted with a small but satisfying biscuit, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream combination that concludes my meal on a high note.
All of this - pizza, salad, drink and dessert - amounts to less than a cost of a large pizza on the menu. There is undeniable value for money here. Though next time, I'll be hoping for a meat feast or a more passionate pepperoni in the buffet... but then, it's all a matter of taste.

Simon Fallaha

Pizza Hut at Victoria Square is open from 11.30 am to 9 pm from Monday to Thursday, from 11.30 am to 10 pm on Friday and Saturday, and from 12 pm to 8 pm on Sunday.

@PizzaHutVictoriaSquare on Facebook.

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