Pizza Roma, 1 Victoria Terrace, Lostock Hall
Let me tell you, yours truly left Pizza Roma a happy man, straining beneath the weight of a mere £17 worth of food.
Stuffed mushrooms, 9-inch spicy garlic bread, 9-inch Roma Special pizza, Chicken Cleopatra with rice. £17!
Still piping hot this bargain blow-out was laid on the table within 25 minutes of ordering – over the counter in the shop – and looked decent.
The meal started well. The mushrooms were many in number, slightly oven-seared (just how I like them) and although the stuffing was not the most richly flavoured or unctuous I’ve ever known, all made for a pleasant dish.
The spicy garlic bread too was, if not a delight, certainly tending in that direction, the green chillis, onions and hot sauce certainly making a zingy counterpoint to the earthy, garlicky mushrooms.
Things came seriously unstuck, however, when we turned to the main courses.
The cheese on the pizza was far too thick, swamping all in its path – quite likely to compensate for the fact that several other toppings were either conspicuous by their short supply or not all that pleasant (ham in particular was curiously spongy, and contributed little by way of flavour).
A pity, as the base was fine, thin and chewy, and the sauce an intriguingly tangy herby tomato treat.
The Chicken Cleopatra, however was very poor.
Supposedly cooked in white wine and cream, the former was undetectable, the latter overwhelming. Woefully under seasoned – a few forkfuls in, out of desperation, I hit my ownherb rack – it was essentially chicken chunks poached in pure cream.
The rice was fine, by the way. Tender, nicely buttered, a decent side. For something. Just not this.