Harley Young channels her inner Frank Reynolds over Hawaiian pizza and big, boozy cocktails
After frantically scouring the centre of Liverpool for somewhere to line our stomachs ahead of a press screening of Barbie at the Everyman cinema (yes, two Goths off to see Barbie - go figure), my colleague Georgie and I descended on Bold Street.
I checked the time. Bollocks. We had to be there in an hour.
After speed-walking halfway up the road in massive boots we clocked a bright neon sign in the distance - ‘Pizza Punks’ with a rather large red ‘A’. Realising it was a glowing anarchy symbol and, being a pair of girls who hate sticking to conventional norms, we were intrigued.
Would it be just another tacky gimmick of a restaurant-bar that relies on being quirky? Or was this to be the latest unconventional pizza place in my arson of places to dine whilst in Liverpool?
It’s been almost a week and I’ve not stopped thinking about that rum ham
The decor is undeniably edgy whilst still being quite understated. It’s punk, it’s trendy, but it’s not in your face.
As we scanned the drinks menu we were serenaded by the lulls of old school punk songs from artists including Buzzcocks and The Ramones over the speakers at a volume that was just foot-tappingly loud enough. As well as the classics, they played new-age pleasures from the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Green Day. My kind of place.
The cocktails all had playful names, including the ‘Strawberry Smash’ and a ‘Blue Monday’ for good measure, but we couldn’t really turn down the chance to sip on a ‘Dead Punks’ Society’. I mean, come on.
Consisting of two different Bacardi rums, pineapple, passionfruit, grenadine, lime, and a bit of fire for good measure, this drink was a well-balanced take on the classic ‘Zombie’. Delicious and boozy, but not deadly enough to cause lethal blackouts as the name might suggest. Not after just two of them, anyway.
I’m a sucker for the comfort that comes from a good portion of mac n’ cheese. So, when I spotted it on the menu, I knew I had to have it as my starter even though it was technically labelled as a side. Pizza Punks have got the stodgy, gooey goodness down to a T. The baked dish of mac and cheese even has those slightly crispy bubbling edges that let you know you’re in for a treat.
My only critique, and this is probably me being a gluttonous cheese fiend, is that it wasn’t quite cheesy enough for my liking. The cheddar could have done with being a bit sharper to give that extra zing.
Georgie went for the garlic sourdough; a generous portion of sourdough pizza bread with huge crystals of sea salt and flecks of rosemary throughout. With a crispy edge and a fluffy centre, this was probably one of the best-looking garlic pizza breads I’d seen in a while. She noted that it paired well with her cocktail.
We were given the option to create our own pizza (unlimited toppings at no extra charge - a bloody steal), or to choose one of the classics from the menu. As tempting as unlimited toppings sounded, I’m the type of person who gets in a tizzy when I have to order my sandwich at Subway. I kept it simple, opting for one of the classics. Georgie did the same.
Georgie had the mushroom pizza; a standard base covered with hearty dollops of white sauce, mozzarella, truffled mushrooms and garlic and rosemary roast potatoes. A fragrant, well-balanced pizza with a variety of textures to keep things exciting.
I on the other hand went for the Hawaiian because, yes, pineapple does belong on pizza. And what a beautiful Hawaiian it was; a standard base with pizza sauce, grated mozzarella, caramelised pineapple, rum ham hock and a hot honey drizzle. Absolutely divine.
The caramelised pineapple was cut into thick chunks and generously heaped onto the pizza, having been lightly charred on the edges to bring out that extra sticky sweetness. The rum-infused ham hock fell apart as it touched your tongue, allowing all of the flavours to rush past my tastebuds one after the other.
I kept going back for seconds, the flavour becoming more powerful with each bite. The hot honey drizzle dripped down the crust and coated my fingers, but I didn’t care. It felt like it was just me and the rum ham pizza against the world at that moment. Until I hit the food wall, thanks to the incredibly generous portions that Pizza Punks serve up.
A tear came to my eye (figuratively or literally, you decide) as I realised I wasn’t going to be able to shovel any more pizza into my face. I had to let it go.
A member of the team cleared away our plates and I let out a sigh, wondering when I’d get the opportunity to see that dish again. I felt like Frank Reynolds in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia when his prized rum ham floats away into the sea. I hope you get that reference because otherwise I probably sound mental.
We dashed off to watch Barbie before we managed to decide on a dessert, but returned the following afternoon to sample the caramel Biscoff pizza (£10); a standard-sized pizza base coated with lashings of caramel and Biscoff spread, topped with a banana cut into quarters and a scoop of Mackie’s ice cream in the middle.
It was absolutely heavenly, incredibly rich yet so simple. Plus the portion size was enormous - between myself and Georgie, plus our colleague who dropped in to help us tackle it, we still couldn’t finish it all.
Pizza Punks is a great option if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere for catching up with mates, grabbing lunch, or even for a casual date night. It’s beyond affordable and the team at the Liverpool restaurant is class. Plus, they really are pros when it comes to making a good pizza - savoury or otherwise.
It’s been almost a week and I’ve not stopped thinking about that rum ham. I’ve bored my partner with talking about it non-stop since eating it. I think another visit is on the cards soon.
Pizza Punks, Bold Street, Liverpool L1 4LF
Get the latest news to your inbox
Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email by signing up to our mailing list. This is one of the ways that Confidentials remains free to our readers and by signing up you help support our high quality, impartial and knowledgable writers. Thank you!
Garlic sourdough with sea salt and rosemary 7, mac n’ cheese 6.5, mushroom pizza 8.5, Hawaiian pizza 8.5, caramel Biscoff pizza 8
A super-friendly team who had good recommendations and were a great laugh to talk to.
Comfortable with fitting decor without being too cheesy (pardon the pun). A buzzy vibe accompanied by great music.