Saturday 30 August 2014

Croma Chorlton.

Good pizza should be made with love, with care and attention with the very best ingredients. Some people think, it's just pizza, it doesn't matter. It does matter and can be such a real joy when done properly. It'll never be those things at Croma. Croma is not that bad, it's just not a proper restaurant. It's a chain run by accountants in restaurant form.
It wasn't our choice to go there. Our conversation went something like this;
Her; "all our friends are going to Croma tonight for pizza. Shall we go"? Me, "You're paying then." So we went. She wasn't happy about paying. She was even less happy afterwards.
That's another thing about Croma, people say it's cheap. It is not cheap, costs mount up and you're left £60 down for two, money you could have spent in a proper restaurant with a proper chef, you know, like cooking you stuff.
It certainly looks like a proper restaurant inside, it's busy busy busy. It's the most popular restaurant in Chorlton. There are proper napkins and tablecloths. The huge, long empty table(s) next to us, looked like a bomb had hit it, and about 30 screaming kids 'expressing themselves'. Luckily they'd left by the time we arrived. People always say that about Croma, it's great for kids.
I ordered a carafe of house red, I was going to have a good time, despite myself. I did actually enjoy our evening but not because of the food. I was with friends chatting, wine was flowing and the conservatory area is quite a pleasant space if a little noisy. The carafe of cheap red house wine comes in at a whopping £18.95 for a litre, but she was paying like I said.
For starters I got a Mushroom Bruschetta (£4.90). It wasn't really too bad. It's the smallest portion they could get away with for a fiver though. Mrs Bacon's prawns were even worse. You can see the accountants there saying 'no, it can never ever be more than four prawns'! Four tiny prawns. Everything is counted out precisely to maximise profit. Mrs B said the prawns were ok.
The pizzas are the same. Why are they so small? Because they've reduced it down to the smallest it can be. I had my usual, a Garstang Blue with Chorizo added. It comes in at £7.30 plus £1.95 for three pieces of chorizo. I counted them like they had done. It wasn't a bad pizza. Those accountants have been in snipping cheese back here and there though, so it was very thinly spread. You could just about taste the Garstang blue. All around me people were struggling to cut their pizzas up, the base is thin but springy. I just picked mine up and pulled it apart. It took me about 3 minutes to eat it. The Tiramisu was standard supermarket in taste. It used to come in a large coffee cup, no longer. Economics again I'm guessing. 
Croma isn't that bad, it'll do for some. Like Pizza Express does, or Costa Coffee will do. Not for me though. It represents everything that's crap about modern chain restaurants. It's run by accountants not chefs. There's no love in there, no passion for food. It's bland, it's uniform, it's safe. But people do love it. Me, I can't stand the place.

Croma Chorlton on Urbanspoon


  1. I had the worst Nicoise Salad ever in there last year. A huge portion that was just iceberg lettuce, cheap tuna in brine (loads) one silver anchovy, a bit of egg, a few olives and some hideous dressing. No capers, onions, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil or green beans. I did have an additional ingredient though, some blue kitchen paper. I sent it back and they replaced it with a facsimile minus the paper.
    I cannot understand why people like it or it is so popular. to say it is "average" is very generous. I can make a better Nicoise Salad myself for less than half the price and with no kitchen paper,

    1. Thanks for your comment Fiona, I think the pizzas are fairly average, but other dishes are actually worse, ones that require a bit of skill and preparation from the kitchen - such as salads, as you quite rightly you point out!

  2. I think it depends what you are going for. If you want to spend £60 for two - don't go to Croma. If you want to go somewhere with two kids, knowing you will only get 45 mins to eat and a budget of £30 it is brilliant. Never had the salad but then I would not opt for a salad anyway

  3. I'm with John on this one...

    Since they opened on Clarence Street way back when - and I still think the city centre branch is the best - I've been to Coma numerous times. With friends, with colleagues and with relatives from under 8 to over 80. It's almost always been pretty good and almost everyone likes it. Sure it's a chain with a defined business model - a pretty good one from what I can see - but the product works in that market: decent pizza (Classic over Gourmet); decent drinks (where they appear to support local suppliers); and decent offers (I don't think it's cheap but £10.95 - I think - for an early evening deal isn't that expensive).

    If I want food cooked with passion and something a bit daring than I'd be going somewhere else - if I want to go out for a couple of hours after work,without queuing and at < £25 it ticks the boxes.

    Just out of curiosity, have you been to Franco Manca?

    1. See, I think Croma has gone downhill from what it was in the beginning. I would rate the pizzas as little more average rather than 'decent' but anyway..
      I've not been to Franco Manca as I wouldn't really go for pizza on our infrequent short trips to London. But I hear they have been taken over and are not what they once were sadly. Such is the world - big business takes over...

  4. One last thought: As long as people frequent places like Croma we'll never get better restaurants.