Home Slice Pizza Ltd
Grand Central Food Bazaar
By Natasha Young | Vegan pizzeria | £££ | Grand Central Food Bazaar, 35 Renshaw Street, Liverpool, L1 2SF
“How will they get the cheese right?” was the burning question my partner and I were asking as we prepared to visit Liverpool’s 100% plant based pizza place, Home Slice.
Although carnivorous, we’re both more than happy to tuck into a meat-free feast from time to time. It’s the dairy delight though – an integral part of pizza, of course – which we both find hard to resist.
In our minds, subject to everything else going swimmingly, Home Slice’s faux cheese of choice could be the decider of whether we deemed our Saturday night visit a hit or a miss. And as we venture into 2019 – a year when the popularity of plant based cuisine is widely tipped to soar – a champion ‘cheese’ could position the pizza purveyor firmly at the forefront of Liverpool’s growing vegan food scene.
We wandered into Renshaw Street’s ornate Grand Central Food Bazaar, where Home Slice is based as a permanent fixture, and picked a table close to our chosen food stand for the evening.
Bustling with diners but relaxed and easy to find a seat, the bazaar seemed a pleasant place to settle for the evening. A live singer performed soulful covers from the lower floor, adding to its Saturday night buzz without being too intrusive.
The hall’s food stands don’t individually serve drinks but a well-stocked bar was on hand to provide a pint of Hell Weathers IPA (£3.85) for my dinner date while I chose a Tanqueray gin (£4.80) and tonic (£1.55), presented in a balloon glass with garnish.
Tipples in hand, we got straight to work on Home Slice’s menu and it had been kept refreshingly simple.
All pizzas come on 9” bases – a perfect one-person portion – and are £7.50 with a choice of tomato, BBQ or garlic base. You can then go to town on toppings, with a range of vegan meats and veggies (all 50p each to add).
If it weren’t for the passing mentions of Home Slice’s ‘100% plant based’ USP I could easily have forgotten we were dining vegan style that night. The menu was awash with choices of pepperoni, chicken, ham, chorizo and sausage, as well as options to add extra cheese and sides including garlic mayo. Ice cream was also prominent in the desserts.
I chose a BBQ base topped with sausage, mushrooms, red onion and jalapenos; while my partner picked a tomato base with sausage, jalapenos, red onion, black olives and green peppers.
We also ordered BBQ and garlic mayo dips (50p each) and, detecting our enthusiasm for jalapenos, our server recommended a side of jalapeno dough balls (£4.50 with an accompanying dip of choice). Keen to try them but concerned about overloading on heavy dough, we agreed to share a portion.
After ordering at the counter I returned to our table equipped with a buzzer to notify us when our food would be ready – a standard setup in street food-serving, food hall-style concepts.
It didn’t take long for our feast to be ready and, excited about the meal ahead of us, I collected our stack of boxed up pizzas from the counter.
They certainly looked the part – the ‘cheese’ had melted and bubbled across the bases which appeared to be thin and crispy pizza perfection, packed to the crusty edges with a generous helping of toppings.
“Home Slice’s food tastes lighter and less greasy, providing all the joy of pizza without the fast food hangover afterwards.”
The vegan sausage atop both of our pizzas looked meaty and was filled with herby flavour.
The creamy garlic mayo dip, although dairy-free, was as good as any I’ve had and the BBQ sauce, on my base and on the side, brought a pleasing tangy taste.
One thing that struck us was just how light the pizza dough was. We needn’t have worried about the jalapeno dough balls – which packed a satisfying punch – being too heavy on the side as we powered through our pizzas.
As for the all-important ‘cheese’, it certainly wasn’t the same as the dairy variety – there were no stretchy, stringy bits as I tore the slices apart. It was, however, lovely and creamy and worked well across the pizzas as well as amongst the dough balls’ jalapeno chunks.
The Home Slice team said they’d invested good time in finding the right faux cheese, testing different ingredients before settling on a coconut-based substance, and this attention to detail paid off.
Confident we had enough room to manage a dessert between us, we finished with chocolate dough balls with ice cream (£6) and a scoop of Biscoff dip (50p).
Beautifully smooth, the ice cream was a delicious accompaniment for the warm, sweet dough balls and their rich chocolate filling.
It was a delicious end to a consistently satisfying pizza feast which, as a meat and dairy eater myself, I can vouch was no less enjoyable than the offering elsewhere.
If anything, Home Slice’s food tastes lighter and less greasy, providing all the joy of pizza without the fast food hangover afterwards.