Eat Well(ington)

Eating out and eating well in the capital of Aotearoa New Zealand. And sometimes, other places.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pepe's Pizza Parlour - Lower Hutt, January 6th (or was it the 8th?), 2009

Getting pizza in New Zealand has changed a lot in the last 30 odd years... Pizza Hut used to be the only pizza Restaurant in the country, with their rather large, iconically shaped restaurants and their rather large prices. Now they are a shell of their former selves, reduced to takeaway or delivery outlets only... places like Eagle Boys and Pizza Haven came and went, and Hell Pizza and Hungry Kiwis' Pizza battling it out with them and Domino's for domination of the take away or delivery pizza market.

One Pizza restaurant which has been around ever since I can remember (and that's 25 to 30 years or so) is Pepe's Pizza Parlour in Lower Hutt, opposite Hutt Hospital.

I have no idea whether it's the same owner, but the pizzas remain the same... fantastic!

Our most recent visit was pretty typical of all of our previous visits: It was a little but busier than normal, as it was the first day they were open after the New Year holiday, and obviously people were hanging out for a decent pizza, without having to pay a snob tax at a trendy cafe.

The menu (which is on their website) has a lot of variety, even for Pescitarians like ourselves, plus the option of having pizzas made to order. Some of the pizzas on the menu elicit "I'm not really sure that works" type of reactions, but I guess they do work for some people.

I ordered the gourmet Vegetarian, and my companion ordered a regular Seafood. ($16 and $14.50, respectively, for the regular size.) Service was friendly and efficient... it wasn't an over the top, false friendliness or 'where everyone knows your name' friendly, but honest, we really appreciate your business, thanks, type friendly.

The pizzas arrived, and they were delicious as usual... pretty much like the pizzas you get at a place specialising in gourmet pizzas, but at prices similar to those of Hell (ie: at a slight premium over the stuff from Pizza Hut or Domino's). The bases were nice and thin, with just the right amount of topping: not overflowing with double cheese, with a cheese encrusted crust, nor 10% to 25% less topping than before, nor do they elicit a "I though pizzas were supposed to have stuff on top of them" reaction. A good, honest pizza, at a good honest price.

So... ratings...
  1. How long would I walk to eat there: Considering I live about five minutes walk away from Pepe's, I'd have to say "Five minutes", however a few times I've been in Wellington city, and had a craving for pizza, and driven out to Lower Hutt, especially to go to Pepe's. If Pepe's were based in Wellington, I'd happily walk for 20 or 25 minutes just to go there. Ratings: 5 minutes (in reality), 2o minutes (theoretically)
  2. Free water: This was the only hiccup of he evening, as the waiter forgot to bring us a pitcher of water as requested, however this was no big deal. The water was stored in a fridge, so it was nice and cold. Good clean Hutt tap water (I assume) at it's best. Rating: 8/10
  3. Decor: Probably hasn't changed since the 1980s, but it's clean and spacious, yet cosy. Generally I'm not a fan of TV screens in restaurants, but at least it is possible to sit where it's not possible to see the screen. Rating: 8/10
  4. Vegetarian options: Enough variety to be able to return and try different pizzas (Take note, Hungy Kiwi), plus one could have a pizza custom made. Of course, whether it's suitable for a particular vegetarian would depend on the type of vegetarian they are, but for our purposes, it's fine. Rating: 10/10
  5. Quick service: I'm a bit fussy, I guess, but I hate being rushed, and I also hate having to wait forever for my food, when I'm eating out, especially if I'm eating out with company. Waiting staff probably hate people like me. I have no problems with the speed of the service here. Rating: 10/10
Three word summary: Fantastic. Eat there.

How much?:

Total cost for two regular size pizzas (one from the regular menu,one from the gourmet menu), just over $30.

Pepe's Pizza Parlour
731c High Street
Lower Hutt
(accross the road from Hutt Hospital, next to Burger Wisconsin)

Telephone 04 9391810

Dine in, take away and delivery
Open in the evenings

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Anonymous Lynsey said...

Great review, thanks fisch :)

7:22 AM  
Blogger fisch said...

So since I wrote this, Pepe's Pizzas went downhill considerably, and has changed owners. We have tried it once since the new owners took over, and the pizzas were okay - not great, better than Pizza Hutt, Dominoes and Hell, but not worth the premium, unfortunately.

3:53 PM  

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