You don't have to be a nerd to eat at Edinburgh's new Pizza Geeks restaurant, says Gaby Soutar

I was never a nerd at school, apart from a brief period in P6 when I rocked a mullet, NHS aviators and never took off my ski jacket, even through the hot August of ‘85. That may have slotted me temporarily into that category.

Today’s geek, however, is a different prospect.

They’re no longer the Pee Wee Herman/Rick Moranis style underdog, to be beaten up by jocks in the playground.

Like king dork, Mark Zuckerberg, they generally got into computers, and, thus, inherited the earth.

Or, they got obsessive about something else, and won at that too.

In this case, pizza.

The three (very lovely) dudes who run this place, in the former premises of Sushiya, started off with a food van and this is their first bricks and mortar location. The decor is a celebration of general common or garden geekery, with one table, already taken over by two dweebs on our visit, that’s made from a converted Space Invaders arcade game.

There are Super Mario references in the question mark box lights that hang behind the bar area, a logo on the window that alludes to a Stormtrooper mask, and sword motifs that might be Dungeons & Dragon-ish or Hobbit-y.

At the back, you’ll find a painting – a take on The Last Supper, with the friends and family that helped found the business dressed up as various characters, from Mario to Princess Leia.

I had to Google the references in their Antimatter Antipasti list, and it seems that Dragon Ballz (£6) are most likely named after a Japanese animated series, Dragon Ball Z.

I’ve never understood why people order dough balls before eating a pizza, but it’s obviously something I’ll have to come to terms with. This set of four were stuffed with our choice of two of their pizza toppings – pesto and mozzarella – for squishy centred knots of puffy breadyness.

We also had the Rocket Racoon (£4, and a character in Guardians of the Galaxy) – a slightly unnecessarily huge bowlful of rocket, along with stamps of young Parmesan, halved cherry tomatoes and a mustard seed spotted and sweet dressing.

Not the most exciting starters, but it’s all about the main event here.

During the day, they offer smaller sized nine-inch pizzas – the same as their van’s offerings – before upgrading to 12 inches at night. These paper plate sized options are perfect for lunch, and cheaper and less carb slump inducing than the full frisbee.

Although I swithered over The Mario and The Hulk, with a Darth Vader model breathing down my neck, this Jabba the Hutt opted for the The Wildling (£6).

On their Neapolitan style base, with that pine-coloured crusty rim, they’d daubed garlic oil, thin Post-It notes of butternut squash (much nicer than the usual pulpy chunk), and loads of clear sweet chilli jam, all draped with wilted spinach leaves.

To balance the sugaryness, it would have been nice to have a bit more goat’s cheese, since there were only a few milk teeth sized blobs. Still, I enjoyed this jeely piece of a pizza.

While this was veggie, The Braveheart (£7) was quite the opposite, with blobs of mozzarella on a tomato base, oily and porky discs of salami Milano, crumbled peppery haggis and ashy Stornoway black pudding. Satisfyingly burly.

Puddings were completely surplus to requirements, but I managed to dispatch an “Affocato” (£4.50).

All the components were nice enough – scoops of silky vanilla ice-cream, two stiff shots of acidic espresso and, unusually, some crumbled Lion Bar on top. I crunched it, and chewed it.

Their Radagast the Brownie (£4.50), was a Tolkien wizard of a dessert, with pints of melted chocolate over the top of double decker brownie slabs that sandwiched sticky caramel. Ooft, like Legolas in liquid form.

Anyway, though their antipasti could be a bit more imaginative, this place can easily hold its own against Edinburgh’s other pizza joints, and there’s a certain demographic that will feel extremely at home.

These days, unlike that sweaty summer of ‘85, it pays to be a geek.

Pizza Geeks Edinburgh

19 Dalry Road, Edinburgh

(0131-347 8863, www.pizzageeks.co.uk)

 

 

Pizza Geeks, Edinburgh, restaurant review
Food70%
Ambience80%
75%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
92%

About The Author

Gaby Soutar

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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