The idea behind Fire and Stone is that its hallmark pizzas are grouped into different geographical regions, each one representing a different city. So you can choose a ‘Peking’ pizza, topped with shredded aromatic duck, hoi sin sauce and cucumber ribbons, or go Down Under with a ‘Melbourne’, inexplicitly characterised by butternut squash, brie and pumpkin seeds. The result of this “concept” is a menu whose length and detail could see it added to the University’s English course, and whose content could be the itinerary of a classic Gap Yah.
After much deliberation I headed to the subcontinent with the ‘Bombay’, a pizza with a yogurt base, roast tandoori chicken, broccoli and mango chutney. I wanted to love it, I really did, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations: the Indian curry and Italian basics didn’t meld. So whilst the chicken, yogurt and chutney were a natural fit, the four heads of broccoli sitting on each quarter looked embarrassed and the pizza base seemed to function as a sort of second plate.
There are alternatives: my roommate wasn’t tempted by the ‘world on a pizza’ novelty, and ordered a grilled goats cheese salad. Alas, she found it a little too salty, with generous amounts of pesto overpowering everything else in the salad.
So it must be said: the food here was underwhelming. Nonetheless, the experience was a fun one. Actually, I think this is the point of a place like Fire and Stone; whilst the execution of the cultural additions to its pizzas could be more sensitive, it is the outlandishness of its combinations that makes it different from other restaurants. Where they might stay tasteful, sensitively adding ingredients from around the world onto Italian classics, this place seems to want to stand out a little more.
It’s pleasant place to spend an evening, only a year old, and the restaurant has been done up tastefully. And perhaps most importantly, it’s good value for students- there’s a two for one meal deal until the end of the month, and on Thursdays every pizza is only £4, meaning our entire bill came to just over a fiver each. We left slightly disappointed with the food, but not with the evening overall. It’s not gourmet, but Fire and Stone is a cheap and easy way to have a literal taste of the world without leaving Oxford.
Price: Equivalent to 2 meals in Hall
Atmosphere: Large but friendly
Food: Take your Lonely Planet