We always think of Pizza as a uniquely Western invention, with its roots in Italy. But you know what happens when those wacky Asians take something Western and turn it into their own, right?

You usually get a train wreck, but one with an astounding infusion of Asian virtues and a reinvention of a Western staple.  And we all love it in the end. And that’s exactly how I felt about Mr. Pizza.

Mr. Pizza is the number one pizza chain in Korea. They’re proudly recognized as a world-class product homegrown in Korea. Well, I’m always skeptical, but I always give it a try. Well, as long as my wallet can afford it!

 

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This Mr. Pizza branch is found in Greenbelt 3 in Makati. It’s right across Cafe Breton and near Seattle’s Best, as you can see in the picture. When you enter, you’ll be greated by a blast of K-Pop music, which I’m sure will appeal to all the K-Poppers in the Philippines.

The place is kinda tight, terrible layout really and you'll feel like you were packed in a can of sardines.
The place is kinda tight, terrible layout really and you’ll feel like you were packed in a can of sardines. There’s a wall with six panels of LCD TVs, but I wonder who’s watching it since the TVs are facing a wall and anyone underneath it has to crane their neck up just to watch. Seriously who did the Interior Design for this place?

What didn’t appeal to me was the tight feeling from the very cramped quarters. You’ll see in the picture above it’s like a thin corridor that was packed with chairs.  The other side of the counter is a larger area but with a very low-hanging roof. I hear the 2nd floor is the place to be, but it was closed off at 11am in the morning on a Saturday. Maybe they open it up at night? Regardless the space was ill-used, and they should demand a refund from their interior designer.

 

But hey, I’ll forgive them as long as they make my tummy happy. So they give me a really cute menu.

The menu doesn't really set the mood for me, but I have to admit the pink and yellow motif made me feel a little fluffy.
The menu doesn’t really set the mood for me, but I have to admit the pink and yellow motif made me feel a little fluffy.

Took me a while to decide what to order, because the menu items were really strange. It reminds me of Hercules Pizza, an ill-fated pizza parlor back in the Alabang Town Center, which sprouted up sometime in the early 90’s and died not a year later.

Despite its lack of longevity, I will remember Hercules Pizza for its weird egg and cream pizzas and other abominable pizza combinations. Mr. Pizza is something like that, but I am thinking the more liberated foodie today would find this appealing rather than appalling, which is what I think happened to Hercules Pizza.

Here’s what we ended up ordering, and you can get an idea of the weird stuff they have in the menu.

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The prices are actually not bad. Most pizzas are in the 300 peso range for the regular size, and that regular size is very satisfying for one person, mostly because these pizzas are loaded with toppings. It’s absurd how much they cram onto one pizza, you won’t feel like you’re cheated ordering here.

However, the Premium Pizzas are a different story. They are about twice the price — but well worth it I promise. The Premium Pizzas range in price from 630 to 800 bucks or so — and if you want to really experience it right you should order them with the special crusts, which add another 100 to 200 bucks onto the deal.  These pizzas are pretty expensive to be honest, but if you’re going to eat at Mr. Pizza you should at least try one of these.

We got the Macho Grande, which belongs to their Premium Pizzas listing. We were thinking of getting the Eggta pizza at first, which is like some kind of Egg Tart Beef pizza. I have to laugh at the notion, but I am sure it’s good. But the Macho Grande sounded pretty interesting, they recommend ordering it with the Mocha Bun crust, which is another 100 on top of the list price. Fine fine, we only live once, what’s 730 bucks for a little 10-inch pizza?

Macho Grande. 730 pesos but wow!
Macho Grande. 730 pesos but wow!

It may seem extremely weird, but this is actually a very interesting pizza. It has strips of stripped steak (they call it “rare round steak topping”) think of it as strips of beef that were separated at the grain, turning them into littley strands that are crisped and burnt to a crispy texture. There’s a wealth of little whole potatoes that were baked to become nice and soft and tender as well, finished off with a delicious cream cheese sauce.

You’ll notice the crust is conspicuously brown, because it’s puffed with mocha powder. The inside is filled with some kind of creamy milky cheesy liquor, which is also kind of sweet.  The entire pizza has a tang of sweetness actually, which I guess is typical for Korean food, which tends to be sweet and spicy. The potatoes were great, they were soft and melted in my mouth, the crackly beef added a nice texture, filled me up, and the sauce had a strange pungent feel to it, almost fooling you into thinking it’s a little rancid, but it’s really just sour, they probably have some sour cream or yoghurt mixed into the cream sauce base.

It works really well, to be honest, and the soft mocha crust was a delectable topping to the experience. I loved it! It’s very unique, to be sure, and you’ll never taste a pizza like this anywhere else I suppose.

 

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This one on the other hand was the Dak Galbi. 380 bucks.

 

Dak Galbi is a traditional Korean chicken dish made by marinating chicken in gochugang sauce and stewing it with kamote, onions, cabbages and other stuff. Here, it’s transformed into a rather unique pizza.

The chicken is a bit spicy, so if you can’t take the heat don’t order it. The sauce is also some kind of weird barbecue-like pepper sauce, and it’s garnished with kamote, green peppers, and some weird white stuff that is not pineapples, even though it looks like they are. I am not sure what they are but they taste like patola.

The texture of this pizza was not very nice, the crust was a little stiff and the kamote was hard and didn’t melt into my mouth like the Macho Grande’s potatoes. I loved the spicy undertone though and the fried garlic bits that really packed a delicious punch into the dish. And as you can see the thing is loaded to the gills with toppings; you’ll be full in no time eating one of these.

 

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Gorgonzola Pizza. 330 pesos.

 

Lastly we had the Gorgonzola Pizza. This one is the most “traditional” like pizza of the bunch, and you could mistake it for an Italian pizza. All it has is delicious, tasty, salty Gorgonzola cheese, and walnuts.  But the kicker is, they serve it with honey — that’s the stuff in the black cup there, and you eat it with the pizza like you were eating a pancake with maple syrup.

This would have been a great pizza, but Mr. Pizza committed an abominable, unforgivable atrocity with this dish: they used old walnuts. I can tell. Sorry, but you can’t fool me. The walnuts used were old, they have that old nut taste that reeks of old stock walnuts that are about to go bad.

I’m sorry, but there’s no excuse serving food with bad ingredients. Don’t ever do it. Didn’t anyone even taste test the walnuts to make sure they were still good for serving? This was an embarrassment. I can’t say anything good about this dish anymore because the freaking walnuts were bad.

Shame on you Mr. Pizza. Keep your stock fresh and properly loaded, don’t serve your customers bad food. 

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We also tried out a drink just to see what the fuss was about.  We got the Hallabong Ade, which is a Korean tangerine soda.

I have to say, I liked it. This is what soft drinks would be, if they weren’t overly sweet and actually tasted good. It had all the carbonated fizz of a typical soda, but wasn’t too sweet, and there were lots of tangerine fiber at the bottom that you can slurp up with your straw, making it a surprisingly healthy, fibrous drink. If Sprite were like this I’d actually order drinks at restaurants.

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Anyhow, Mr. Pizza is an interesting place. I would eat here again, if only it were in Alabang. But they need to be careful with the walnuts, it was the only intolerable thing to mar an otherwise great culinary experience.

When the bill came it came in a cute Mr. Pizza folding wallet as well. That took the edge off the icky walnuts. But I hope Mr. Pizza will make sure their nuts are properly stocked, and to check them before serving in case they go rancid.eMuncher_MrPizza (18)_Snapseed

 

 

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Posted by Erwin Anciano

Erwin has been eating food for the past 30 or so years. Yes, he actually thinks that makes him an expert on all things food-related.

Website: http://emuncher.com