Before trying the food at Purezza, I was sceptical.
Northern Quarter’s newest Italian restaurant has an entirely vegan menu and, as someone who has been a vegetarian for seven years but never quite managed to take the leap and become vegan (mainly due to the general nastiness of vegan cheese), I was unsure a plant-based pizza chain could win me over.
However, after reading about Purezza’s success in other regions (the Manchester site is the fifth of its kind to open in the UK) I put my reservations behind me and entered the restaurant with an open mind.
I was pleasantly surprised by the decor, an array of trailing plants hanging down from the walls and the soft pink and green colour scheme gives the place a very homely feel.
The furniture is all upcycled and the walls are painted with eco-friendly and organic paints, which gives the impression that Purezza is a company that cares. There’s also a playful touch downstairs with a set of swings.
The staff were incredibly friendly and accommodating throughout, despite the fact that I took an age to decide on my meal and kept sending them away.
After much deliberation, my boyfriend and I decided to share the roasted garlic and herb potatoes and the dough balls to start.
I am a firm believer in the fact that potatoes are the best food in the world and these did not disappoint. My only criticism is that the plate was not big enough, I could have continued to gorge on those potatoes all night.
The dough balls were also delicious, they came filled with melted vegan cheddar and to my delight – it tasted like actual real cheese.
The pizzas all have fun names, too, which injects a little personality into the restaurant.
I went for ‘The one with all the Seasons’, simply because I thought it sounded quite poetic.
Purezza has its own patented brand of vegan mozzarella, and the authentic taste of this cheese made me momentarily forget that what I was eating was entirely plant based.
The garlic dip that came with the pizzas was also incredible – I would argue maybe even better than Dominoes’. I had to stop myself from bolting for the door with a crate of it.
We both wolfed down our meals and my boyfriend, a meat eater, proclaimed loudly through mouthfuls of pizza that if he had not been told, he would have had no idea that all of the food was vegan.
I was disappointed to find that there were only two gelato choices on the dessert menu, vanilla and chocolate – undoubtedly the worst two flavours. I opted for vanilla and, although I wouldn’t say it tasted like traditional ice-cream, it was still pretty tasty.
Given that gelato is arguably one of the most important parts of Italian cuisine, I would love to see Purezza expand its dessert menu in the future.
As we exited the restaurant we were met with a parade of topless men stumbling down the middle of the road screaming ‘It’s coming home’. The cosy interior of Purezza had allowed me to forget momentarily about the chaos of the Euros and that in itself is a five star review.
Purezza opened its doors this week on Monday 21 June. You can find the restaurant on High Street in Northern Quarter.