When's a vegetarian pizza not a vegetarian pizza?

Friday, 14 March 2014
I loved Herbies Pizza.  Really and truly I did.  They've been my main pizza provider for five years or so now for many reasons.  They have different toppings - they don't go for the same old same old veggie toppings and they have a really good pizza, the Unsociable, that has slivers of fresh garlic on it.  I love it.

They also make really good garlic pizza bread which they turn into a calzone.  It's one of the best versions of garlic bread I've had (maybe only beaten by the one with caramelised onions on at Zizzi...) and the prices aren't too bad.  They aren't one of the huge chains, although they are a chain.  The delivery is always reasonable and the dough is fresher and less salty than some of the other options.

Anyway, despite all of this, I'm NEVER going to use Herbies again.

You see, on Tuesday, after another crazy day at work and with very little energy left over, I reached for the laptop and Herbies website.  We don't eat enough to make Two for Tuesday at Domino's worth it - although I did seriously consider it.  I wish we had.

I ordered an Unsociable (garlic, green peppers, sweetcorn, mushrooms, cheese and tomato) and saw that paneer was an optional extra.  I jumped at this.  My love of paneer is well known.

Mr K had his meaty pizza and I got the garlic and cheese bread mentioned before.

The pizza arrived.  We ordered quite early in the evening, so it arrived quite quickly.

I was a little bemused that the chunks of paneer were quite small but thought nothing of it.  Until I had a couple of bites of the pizza and realised that the 'paneer' was in fact chicken.  I wondered if I had got it wrong (my sense of taste is not as straightforward as it was), dissected a bit to see if it looked like chicken or paneer and to my horror - it was chicken.

I called the store.  They found it amusing.  I was told that they didn't have any paneer, so they had made that substitution.  No-one had told me or asked me if I was okay with that.  They put chicken on a vegetarian pizza and thought that would be acceptable.  What if I didn't eat meat for religious reasons?    What if I'd had an allergy?

I've been vegetarian for the whole of my life because I DON'T LIKE MEAT.  I did have a phase where really burnt bacon would be okay but that was some years ago and far from the case now - if I come across meat by accident, I end up ill.  I don't know why but my body seems incapable of dealing with it.

Funnily enough, I've had two mornings of feeling incredibly ropey since the event.  I can't be entirely sure that it's that but it seems mighty suspect that the 'morning sickness' has returned after three weeks away.

It is never cool to substitute an ingredient for something else without checking with the customer.  I'm hopping mad.  They sent me out a new pizza but that really wasn't enough in my eyes.  The pizza I ordered was more expensive than the pizza I ended up with - by 80p.  I didn't feel that the takeaway had taken my complaints seriously, so I have no trust in them any more.

To add insult to injury, the company Twitter account was slow to respond to my initial complaint and then made a vague statement about 'looking into it' but haven't since got back to me.

Perhaps I should just stick to making my own?  Safer.


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