Saturday, January 13, 2018

Eating Out: Pitstop Pizza, Crust, Pizza Capers (aka Vegan Pizza takes over Australia)

This post is a combined pizza post, involving a bit of eating out, but also a lot of ordering in. That's right, vegan cheese has come to Australian pizza delivery places!

But first, an actual eating out experience. I am so late with posting this! Before the vegan cheese could come to our doors, Pitstop Pizza was delighting vegans with a vegan section on their menu. While no vegan meats make an appearance, the lure of vegan cheese was strong. I met up with a friend there for dinner one night to try it out.

My friend was gluten free, so she got the Vegan Vegetariana (homemade pizza sauce, vegan cheese, mushrooms, fresh tomato, marinated roasted capsicum, onion, Kalamata olives) on a gluten free vegan crust. I tried a piece (after picking off the capsicum), and it was fine. Though you could definitely tell the crust was gluten free.

Vegan Vegetariana at Pitstop Pizza


I enjoyed the Vegan Halloween pizza, with homemade pizza sauce, vegan cheese, mushrooms, pumpkin, spinach and dried oregano. On a regular, gluten filled crust, which I think definitely improved the experience.

Vegan Halloween at Pitstop Pizza


They also have some vegan desserts there, so I ordered the cherry pie. It is more like a mini cherry strudel. It was nice, but they served it cold. Definitely would have benefited from a heat up and perhaps a scoop of non-coconut vegan ice cream!

Cherry Pie at Pitstop Pizza


Not long after that visit, Crust, a nation-wide pizza chain with delivery, started offering vegan cheese, with their own special vegan pizza, and you could also customise your own. We ordered two pizzas, starting with the Vegan Alfunghi (Wild Mushroom medley topped with a Thyme & Rosemary crumb mix on a Vegan B├ęchamel base, garnished with fresh Shallots and vegan cheese, I had them leave off the truffle oil). It was OK, though a little bland and oily.

Al Funghi Pizza from Crust


We also customised a pizza, and it has been so long I don't quite remember what was on it. But I see from looking at it that it had BBQ sauce, potato, asparagus... maybe spinach as well? This had tastier flavours than the mushroom.

Vegan Pizza from Crust


Crust uses Biocheese, which is a coconut-oil based cheese. So after eating a few pieces, I started feeling kind of gross. They have since also started offering a Vegan Smoky Pulled Jackfruit Pizza, which I would like to try (with some modifications, such as taking off all the capsicum and chilli), but definitely sharing it with friends to avoid the coconut oil cheese issues. Oh, also, this was PRICEY. Having these two pizza delivered cost about AU$50!!! Not a cheap night in.

Not long after Crust started a vegan range, Pizza Capers jumped on board as well. Cue another night of ordering in!

As well as pizza, Pizza Capers also offers some vegan calzones, in either regular cheesy, rosemary cheesy, or chilli cheesy. I had the rosemary one. It was fun, but again with the Biocheese! It is a lot of cheese.

Vegan Rosemary Calzone from Pizza Capers


Their initial vegan offering was the Sweet Potato Lovers Vegan Pizza (Sweet potato, button mushrooms, crushed garlic, pizza sauce and vegan cheese. Garnished with rosemary, shallots and salt flakes, finished with sweet chilli sauce). I got mine without the sweet chilli sauce, and instead drizzled on some BBQ sauce once it got to my house. A much better option! This was quite a lovely pizza.

Sweet Potato Vegan Pizza from Pizza Capers


Again, with the Biocheese, I felt a bit icky afterwards. I can do small amount of Biocheese, but this was all a bit too much! They now also have a second vegan pizza, a Vegan Tobasco Spiced Mashed Avo (Smashed Avocado, Vegan Cheese, Charred Corn and Diced Tomato lightly seasoned with Garlic and Green Tabasco, finished with Coriander and a Lime Wedge). Tabasco issues aside, I am deeply suspicious of cooked avocado. I love avocado like life, but most of the time I find that cooking it ruins it, so I don't think I'll try this. You can also customise your own pizza.

The big vegan news in Australia of the last week is that Dominos has just started offering vegan cheese and vegan pizzas as well! And even more exciting, they use Follow Your Heart, which is my favourite and doesn't make me feel sick! At the moment they have three vegan pizzas. They are a Vegan Avocado Veg (again with the cooked avocado!), a Spicy Vegan Trio (no thanks to spicy), and a Vegan Marherita (which will be my choice), though hopefully soon they will offer custom pizzas as well. I will eventually order them and will report back when I do, I might be the only vegan in Australia who has not had a vegan Dominos pizza yet!!

So, things are looking pretty good for vegan pizza in Australia. There are restaurants offering vegan pizza, which is great, but the uptake of vegan cheese and vegan ranges by the large pizza delivery chains I think is a great indication of the growth of vegan demand in Australia. I'd love to see some vegan meats make the menu (the day I can order a vegan Hawaiian with black olives to my door will be a glorious day), and more Follow Your Heart or other not super coconut fat cheeses, but overall I am pretty happy!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Dim Sim's happy face after getting lots of head pats.

4 comments:

  1. I think most people who work at these chains don't eat vegan food (or at least vegan cheese) so they treat it JUST like regular cheese. You have to have a light hand with the vegan cheese people!

    That's so cool that so many chains are offering vegan cheeses. Nothing like that in the US, though I don't think I would buy chain pizza anyways. It isn't at good at some of the local pizza places. There are few local shops that offer vegan cheeses though!

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    1. There are definitely better pizzas out there! Pizza Capers and Crust are meant to be slightly fancier pizza delivery places. But they need to change their cheese technique! It is pretty nice to be able to order in if I can't be bothered cooking or going out (which would rarely happen).

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  2. So first off, thank you for sharing this. Pizza is my favourite food and this is just a lovely post ;)
    I'm excited for all of your new vegan pizza options! We had the best vegan pizza place ever nearby and it closed last year and I was so sad. A few non-veg pizza places have started offering vegan & gf offerings though - although I'm so boring with my topping choices, you are inspiring me to try new things. I love the sweet potato one with the drizzle bbq sauce. Sounds so good!
    "On a regular, gluten filled crust, which I think definitely improved the experience."
    Well yes, gluten always improves food experiences haha.
    And Dominoes has vegan options? That I was not aware of and will have to investigate if that is the same here in the States.

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    1. Yay for pizza! It is the best.

      Unfortunately the US does not have vegan Dominoes. In fact, pretty sure a while ago I saw them do a post saying they were not going to, in solidarity with dairy farmers or some such rubbish. But I bet eventually the bottom line will win out, and they will start offering it!

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