Luciano’s Pizza, Birmingham
At about half-past six in the evening, quite routinely after a night out, I become plagued by the most unbearable level of hunger. This hunger, however, is not like the hunger I usually experience in my day-to-day life; it is not the embarrassing rumbling of the stomach in a seminar that can be sedated with a cereal bar and a bottle of water; it is not the midnight craving for some toast; this hunger is different. It is not a want. It is a need. A need to absolutely inhale something altogether unhealthy, something that tastes like it is actively clogging my arteries, something to combat the inherent emptiness I feel after almost every Saturday night. Pizza was my chosen medication this Sunday evening so, after browsing the multitude of fast food menus which accumulate at the foot of our front door, I decided upon Luciano’s Pizza, a tried-and-tested establishment that I have been haunting since early on in first year.
I regretted the 5-minute walk down to Bristol Road almost before I’d even embarked on it; it was dreadfully bitter, almost as cold as my flatmates who'd refused to spend the required amount to tip me over the delivery threshold. I, however, soldiered on, fuelled only by the thought of the pizza that awaited me. I had ordered the £5 meal deal, a quite incredible offer: any pizza, chips, and a drink for just £5. What good value, especially compared to the other big-name pizza eateries in Selly Oak - I dread to think what you could get in the neighbouring Papa John’s for a fiver. Having just checked, Papa John offers potato wedges for £3.79, leaving just over one pound to spend on the rest of the meal; no thank you, Papa John, I’ll stick with Luciano. I ordered the Pepperoni Lover pizza, being a pepperoni lover, and for extra heat I asked Mr Luciano, as I imagine all the workers are named, to add some jalapeno peppers on there as well. This he did at no extra cost, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to assume that this simple addition to the pizza’s toppings would set you back a cool £8 in Papa John’s - although this, I’ll admit, I haven’t verified.
Arriving in the shop I was greeted by a smile from one of the many Mr Lucianos in the establishment, and no customers; this is usually not a great sign, but remember this is 7.30pm on a Sunday. Having established pretty easily who I was, he told me that my pizza would be 5 minutes, but that I could help myself to a drink from the fridge. Given free-reign over the fridge, I usually opt for a Diet Coke, but no, tonight was different; I needed the energy to make it back to my warm house to enjoy my pizza. I picked out a Dr Pepper and took one of the many available seats to wait. In the five minutes that passed, I spent a lot of time admiring the décor, by which I mean perusing the various menus plastering the walls. Another man came in and took advantage of the magnificent deal.
‘Pepperoni?’, Luciano enquired of the almost-empty shop. I practically jumped out of my seat and leapt across the room to collect my meal, such was my hunger at this point. This haste only increased as I made my way home; with a pretty strong power-walk I made it home in sub-five minutes. I opened my front door, walked straight to the kitchen and put my meal down on the side like a caveman returning proudly from another fruitful hunt.
I got some ketchup and sat down on my sofa, turned on the TV, and opened the plastic bag with a level of excitement never experienced before or since. I removed first the pizza box, and second, a smaller polystyrene tray with my chips in. Opening the box was like the scene in Pulp Fiction in which John Travolta opens the briefcase for the first time; it actually seemed as if a golden light arose from the pizza as I opened it. I didn’t waste any time in basking in the glory. I dug straight in, devouring four slices before even turning to the chips. The pepperoni and jalapeno pepper was a great choice; the heat woke me up no end, though I did slightly regret finishing my drink before I got home. Regrets, regrets. The pizza even came with a complimentary garlic and herb dip, just like Dominos, what can’t Mr Luciano do?
Okay, the quality is not on a par with somewhere like Pizza Express, but when you’re so hungry and hungover, Luciano’s is everything you could ever dream of. The chips, I am glad to say, were just as satisfactory as the pizza; in some establishments, chips seem to be an afterthought - a soggy, underdone affair. Not Luciano’s; golden and crispy but positively soft in the middle. This was everything I’d come to expect from Luciano’s and more.
It must have taken me no more than 15 minutes to demolish the £5 meal deal absolutely and, for my money, it was a perfect way to spend 15 of the most half-awake, hungover, and hungry minutes of my life. If you’re ever in a similarly desperate situation, you can rely on Luciano to bail you out.
You can find Luciano's at: 626 Bristol Rd, Birmingham B29 6BQ
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