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Sometimes not even decent food can save a restaurant. So it goes with Crust Bros, a Neapolitan-style pizza parlour on traffic-choked Waterloo Road. There’s a DIY concept (the pizzas are customisable by bases, sauces and toppings), but also a few preconceived pies on offer. Everything I ate was decent enough. A ‘control’ number, made with a regular Neapolitan base plus pesto and mozzarella, had well-charred, pillowy dough and a wafting, herbaceous flavour. A house-designed Cheeky Bro, with mozzarella, tomato, punchy guanciale pork jowl, spring onions and scamorza (that mild cheese that looks like a knobbly brown tumour) was similarly well-made. No complaints.
But – and it’s a massive, all-encompassing BUT – the experience of dining at Crust Bros was abysmal enough to undo the enjoyment of anything I ate.
Deep breath: the relatively new space already looked tired and grubby; the ‘Aperol bar’ was abandoned and covered in cleaning junk; and the draft beer was off. Ordering at the counter was painfully slow and staff were either sat on their phones, or eating, or paying more attention to the constant rotation of Deliveroo drivers than, y’know, IRL punters. Once our order was finally taken, it came out in dribs and drabs (the pizzas only take 90 seconds to cook, so God knows why). And finally, our – admittedly cheery – waitress cleared a dining room’s worth of dirty crockery one plate at a time. When another waiter had to put his cigarette down to pick up our finished dishes, I was truly done. As will Crust Bros be if they don’t fix up quick, serviceable pizza or not.
111 Waterloo Rd
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks (wine on tap), no service: around £35.|
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