Review – Morelli Zorelli
Gluten-free can often be a tricky diet to cater for. With pizza traditionally being the most gluten-heavy of all takeaways, it’s always refreshing when a pizza joint offers alternatives for those suffering from celiac disease. Luckily for us in Brighton, this concept applies to many of them – Morelli Zorelli included.
Standing on the site of the now closed-down Gourmet Pizza Kitchen on Western Road, Morelli Zorelli claims to be a newcomer to the Brighton pizza scene. Offering a similar menu to that of GPK, Morelli Zorelli pride themselves on a Sardinian sourdough pizza base recipe and local Sussex produce for its toppings. But does this make their pizzas any good? And, more importantly, how did Morelli Zorelli fare whilst catering for a specific dietary requirement?
All the pizzas on Morelli Zorelli’s menu can be ordered as gluten-free for £2 extra. Made using rice flour, tapioca flour and potato flakes, these bases are from London based wholesaler, The Venice Bakery. We called up and ordered two pizzas: the Wild Boar – wild boar prosciutto, smoked pancetta, buffalo mozzarella and roasted vine tomatoes and the Pepperoni – pepperoni, chorizo and smoked mozzarella.
What ensued can only be described as a total disaster.
After fifteen minutes (surely a pizza takeaway should be busier on a Friday night?) our order arrived. Opening the box, my friend instantly queried the food: “I don’t think they’re gluten-free…” she said, eyeing the pizza suspiciously.
Breaking off a piece of crust and popping it into my mouth, I instantly agreed. Realising that the pizza was also scattered with rocket (something we hadn’t ordered), I promptly called Morelli Zorelli who sent a biker down to “check whether the pizza was the right one or not”. Was there not a better and more efficient way to check? Perhaps ask who had cooked it, or check with the delivery driver? Regardless, a bloke on a bike turned up and apologised, giving us the correct, gluten-free pizzas and taking away the half-nibbled, cold sourdough ones.
If this had been a simple case of ‘oops, we got the order wrong’, then there wouldn’t have been an issue. But to deliver a non gluten-free pizza to a celiac’s house? Inexcusable. Better checks should be in place to ensure this kind of error never, ever happens.
I called Morelli Zorelli to ask for an explanation and to speak with the manager, Marcello. I was told he would call me back. He didn’t, but instead palmed off the complaint onto a man named Ashley. Kindly, Ashley offered a free dine-in meal for two which we declined, stating a full refund would suffice. We had no intention of going to sample more shambles in the Morelli Zorelli restaurant. Ashley would have to check with Marcello and get back to us.
With our pizza getting cold, Ashley was soon on the phone again letting us know that the manager had authorised a full refund. Why couldn’t the manager phone me personally if he was in the building? Ashamed? Too busy dealing with other customer complaints? Who knows.
Then, instead of processing what I would assume is a simple, straightforward refund, Ashley instead re-charged the debit card the original purchase amount. Over £50 down before Bank Holiday weekend? Thanks, Morelli Zorelli.
Once Ashley had finally completed the full refund, it seems the minimal customer service skills he possessed went out the window. Phrases like ‘darling’ and ‘love’ were thrown around the conversation as if he was picking up women in a bar, not handling a serious complaint. I found him misogynistic, undermining and rude. I ended the conversation stating a that full review would be written of my experience. And that was that.
Finally, after nearly an hour of shambolic and disgraceful customer service, we sat down to eat our meal. Unsurprisingly, it was disappointing.
The base was under-baked and slightly burnt at the edges, not to mention overly sweet. Each slice stuck to the box as though the cheap cardboard was breathing life into it. Peeling away semi-cold slices, they drooped and slopped toppings over the remaining pizza.
With the tomato sauce spread thinly and unevenly across the pizza base, it became apparent that Morelli Zorelli serves up a low-grade gluten-free pizza. The topping combinations of pepperoni and chorizo didn’t really work well together, both adding too much meaty spice. The wild boar was underwhelming. One of the only redeeming features was that the mozzarella had melted well and had a promising, full flavour.
Unenjoyable, reminiscent of Gourmet Pizza Kitchen (review here) and quite frankly, appalling, Morelli Zorelli have got a long way to go to improve their customer service and, perhaps more importantly, the quality of their food.
Words by Claire Beveridge