Last night, The Wife and I decided to putt putt to the Pizza Hut for dinner to try out a recent addition to their menu: The Crown Crust pizza, seen above. As a matter of full disclosure, I had inquired how long the limited-time promotion would be available, as I wanted to do this review before they stopped serving them and I’m still waiting for my paycheck to come in. In response, the folks running their Twitter account offered me a gift card which handily covered the cost of the meal for this review.
It must be said that prior to arriving in Canada, the Crown Crust pizza has gained a bit of notoriety overseas; however, the version seen in reports is rather different from the product released here.
In regions such as the Middle East and the United Kingdom, they received the Crown Crusts you see above, with such items as cheeseburgers and balls of chicken fillet placed in the spots for the crust’s “gems,” each with their own default toppings. By contrast, Pizza Hut Canada has offered a much simpler version.
While I do find the prospect of breaded chicken on a pizza particularly enticing, the Canadian Crown Crust instead features an alternating array of meatballs and cream cheese placed in the crust. Until April 14th, 2013 (one week from the time of this review, regrettably), you can get this style of crust with two toppings of your choice for $17.99.
Saturday night was probably not the ideal time to visit our particular sit-down restaurant (or perhaps any other), as it was fairly busy and we spent the better part of 15 minutes after being seated waiting to place our order, even as others around us who were seated later were being served first. Despite this, once the waitress took our order, everything went swimmingly from there (though I may still owe The Wife a favor after bringing her along).
As noted, the pizza comes with your choice of two toppings, and while I do love chicken, I had a craving for pepperoni on this night. This resulted in a half-chicken, half-pepperoni, all mushroom pizza being delivered to our table in what felt like less time than it took for us to be served. This is what we got:
All in all, it does a pretty good job of resembling the pictures they use to promote it, but there are some differences. Most obviously is that it’s a little more well done, but that’s okay– they nailed it nicely, as the pepperoni had that nice crispness around the edge while leaving the middle portion tender, giving me the best of both worlds. This well-doneness may come into play with something else, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Besides the obvious reasons, we noticed that the overall crust itself was rather unique among Pizza Hut’s offerings in that it seemed a bit thicker than the hand-tossed pizza, yet not as thick as the pan-style crust. A pleasing harmony, to be sure, and one the company might want to consider in their normal menu.
The “gems” in the crust were a little different from what you see in the promotional picture, but not in a bad way. While the main cheese and toppings didn’t reach as far towards the edge of the crust as one might expect, there were other features to make up for it as the meatball gems were accompanied by a nest of tomato sauce (the same as on the rest of the pizza, as near as I could tell). Meanwhile, the cream cheese is accompanied by a blend of oregano and Parmesan cheese.
You can’t really tell by the pictures, but the unique arrangement of the crust also leads to the pizza being sliced a certain way.
My initial thought was that each slice would have two gems: One meatball, one cream cheese. Instead, as you can see, each gets its own slice. This results in some thin slices, but could be handy for those who might have a preference for one type of gem over the other.
As to how it tasted, the regular “pizza” portion was your standard Pizza Hut fare, albeit with the different crust thickness in play. Things begin to vary as you get closer to the gems in the crust, though.
For the meatball slices, the meatballs themselves were juicy and tasty, and meshed well with the tomato sauce and crust. The only potential downside is that bit of the crust which sits between the gem portion and the regular pizza topping portion. Depending on how you feel about plain pizza crust, that’s what you’re basically dealing with here. It was good, but perhaps a little more plentiful than I’m used to while eating pizza.
The other slices featuring the cream cheese were a bit more flavorful, I found. As noted before, these slices featured the oregano/Parmesan topping, and that helped dress up the not-inconsiderable quantity of crust between the toppings and the outer rim with the gems. As for the cream cheese itself, the slightly well-done nature of the pizza toasted it slightly, as you can see above. The result reminded me of having a toasted bagel with cream cheese, but with a pan-style Pizza Hut crust in place of the bagel. It was a slightly different taste, but a good one.
As you can see in the picture above, we did enjoy the pizza overall, with only four slices of twelve left for us to bring home (to be eaten as lunch later today). It’s not perfect (though you could probably ask for the seasoning mix on the other slices to make up or that shortcoming), but still a nice twist on the regular pizza, and provides a more unique experience than the Hot Dog Stuffed Crust did. Overall, I would definitely recommend grabbing a friend or two and getting one while they’re still available– it’s worth trying once.
With any luck, maybe they’ll add it to the regular menu at some point in the future, or at least bring over some of those other varieties seen overseas. It isn’t something I’d get all the time, but definitely something I would treat myself to on occasion, much like the current Stuffed Crust offering.
Check out the links below for my previous Pizza Hut product reviews.