Recently, Pizza Hut Canada decided to give Canadians “the chance to try their favourite foods in a new and unexpected way” with a series of new special-recipe pizzas “inspired by Canada’s cultural diversity.” The forerunners of the promotion are the Cheesy Beef Poutine pizza and the Creamy Butter Chicken pizza, though the full menu includes three more: Asian BBQ, Grilled Chicken Club, and Smokey Maple Bacon, each one specially priced at $15 for a medium and available for a limited time.
“Canadians are adventurous eaters who seek out a variety of tastes,” says Pizza Hut Canada Marketing Director Beverley D’Cruz in a press release. “The Canadian landscape is changing and these new recipes are our way of celebrating Canada’s diversity and multicultural outlook in a modern, exciting way ― and tapping into Canadian favourites,” she adds, noting that “Pizza night will never be the same in Canada.”
The five pizzas break down as follows:
Pizza Hut New Canadian Favourite Pizza Recipes – Something for Every Canadian
- Cheesy Beef Poutine
Pizza Hut’s unique spin on a true Canadian classic. Shaved seasoned steak, crispy fries, cheese curds and mozzarella all atop Pizza Hut’s famous pan crust.
- Creamy Butter Chicken
Foodies will savour the delectable taste of butter chicken sauce, grilled chicken strips, roasted red peppers, red onion and pizza mozzarella – available on your favourite Pizza Hut crust.
- Asian BBQ
Escape with a sweet and bold flavours of Asian BBQ sauce, shaved steak, red onions, pizza mozzarella, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds for freshness and a toasty crunch.
- Grilled Chicken Club
Pizza Hut pays tribute to Canada’s perennially popular sandwich in a pie that combines creamy Alfredo sauce, grilled chicken strips, bacon, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, pizza mozzarella and pepper mayo drizzle.
- Smokey Maple Bacon
Only in Canada, eh? Created for Canadian bacon aficionados with Alfredo sauce, maple bacon strips, bacon crumble, sliced mushrooms, and shredded cheddar and pizza mozzarella.
“Pizza Hut Canada is the first Pizza Hut restaurant in North America to top our world-famous pan crust with spicy, fragrant, Creamy Butter Chicken … and we’re definitely the only Pizza Hut chain in the globe to create a uniquely Canadian Cheesy Beef Poutine Pizza,” said D’Cruz, who also hinted that other countries could potentially adopt some of these recipes in the future.
That said, let’s take a look at the one my wife and I ventured to our nearest sit-down Pizza Hut restaurant to try: The Cheesy Beef Poutine pizza. You can get a good look at it from the promotional image at the top of this article, and here’s another one by way of their Facebook page:
Before going any further, I feel I should point out that Ottawa Citizen and So Good each also tried the same pizza and took their own pictures, but theirs look like a different product entirely. Here is what we were served:
Besides the typical “advertising versus reality” disparity, there is a key factor which separates their experience from my own: They had theirs delivered and carried out, respectively. I’m guessing that theirs had more time to sit, melt, and move into the forms that you see in their respective articles.
My wife, Nadia, elected to press the ingredients down a bit more to let the cheese melt more as it would on poutine (which, unlike this pizza, typically put gravy over the cheese curds in order to melt them). The result, shortly after we’d already taken a couple of slices each (a medium features eight), is like so:
So, how was it? Well, as someone who was practically born to love poutine before even knowing what it was… I liked it.
It really tastes pretty much as you would imagine it: A pizza without tomato sauce, but with poutine on top instead. I’m not sure if the cheese curds are meant to remain more intact or diffuse across the mozzarella, but the two work well together as a delightful two-cheese blend of sorts.
The fries are the very same ones which Yum! Brands features at their Taco Bell and KFC restaurants. Or, if they aren’t the same, you’d have a difficult time telling the difference. As you can see in my pictures, they don’t quite pile on as many of them as in the advertising, but I’ll get to that more in a moment.
Pizza Hut’s gravy, on the other hand, is not like what you would get on the poutine available at their KFC restaurants. This one is a darker, richer gravy; similar to New York Fries’ gravy, in a way, but not quite as rich or strong as that. It definitely complements the other ingredients, but never overpowers them.
The shaved seasoned steak– or simply “beef,” as the product’s official title has it– is a slightly-surprising but not unwelcome ingredient, as so much else, from pork to chicken and more, is being added these days. I don’t believe this is like any sort of beef/steak they’ve featured on their pizzas before, and I rather liked it. As the description says, it’s more of a shaved texture, rather than the almost intrusive chunks of meat you’re more likely to find when ordering any sort of beef/steak on a pizza. Much like the gravy, it serves to complement the whole in a savory way, rather than standing on its own as some pizza toppings do.
On the whole, we both found the Cheesy Beef Poutine pizza to be quite good. My only issue is with, perhaps surprisingly, the presence of the fries on top, even as few as they are.
I am fully aware of how absurd that must sound, as fries are the very foundation of poutine. Still, if anything felt a little out of place on this pizza, it would be the fries. I think it’s the simple matter of stacking starch (fries) on top of starch (the crust) which makes the fries feel almost unnecessary, save to satisfy the definitions of what poutine and pizza each are.
One other aside: While So Good and I differ on the matter of fries and steak’s place on the pizza, I do concur that some sort of gravy dip for the crust would have been a welcome addition.
Still, it’s a minor nitpick. Of the five pizzas, I think this one might be the standout, and I’d personally like to order it again sometime. That is, if it were to still be around; the only other major flaw with this menu is its unusually short time span of availability.
At the restaurant, we were told the pizzas on this menu would only be around until Canada Day, July 1st. If that’s really the case, then their June 11th introduction leaves very little time for people to try all five varieties while risking getting sick of pizza (strange as such a thing is to imagine). I honestly hope they’ll decide to extend the promotion, or better still, make them full-time menu additions. If I know I can get something as unique as this at Pizza Hut, it’s all the more inclination for me to want to eat there.
That said, I did get to try one other variety…
Finding a decent pic of the other three pizzas is tricky, so this is the best I can offer. Additionally, we ordered this one for delivery, and I don’t like to “officially” review items which have been delivered, as I find they tend to suffer a bit versus having one delivered to your table. Similarly, no pictures, as the food has time to really set before it reaches you, and it did here.
Nonetheless, I did get the Smokey Maple Bacon pizza, and for what it’s worth, I rather enjoyed it. I’m already partial to Alfredo sauce on my pizzas, and mushrooms are a frequent topping of mine as well. I find it difficult to speak of how the ingredients all came out, but I could definitely taste the maple from the bacon strips used.
I’d definitely order it again, were it around long enough. Instead, I hope to review the Asian BBQ or Grilled Chicken Club before the promotion ends. Hopefully a paycheck will arrive with time enough for me to do just that!
Check out the links below for my previous Pizza Hut reviews.