Scribblings from the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway

Wild Wood

(Paul Weller)

Wildwood Restaurant – Backnang Square, Chelmsford

I’m not sure what the ‘Wildwood’ chain is trying to be.

It describes itself on a certain major search engine as a ‘modern, international chain restaurant’, but it’s effectively an Italian restaurant/ bistro, with a wood-fired pizza oven, but its menu also features a number of burgers and decidedly non-Italian items on the menu. So I guess that constitutes ‘international’.

Whatever, Val and I were strolling past the Chelmsford branch of ‘Wildwood’ on a hot, summer Saturday lunchtime and the pizzas looked really appetising, so we wandered in.

The Chelmsford branch sits on the waterfront, by the River Chelmer, behind ‘The Meadows’ shopping centre. There are a number of restaurants and bars in the vicinity, ‘Giraffe’, ‘Zizzi’, ‘Missoura’, with more being developed in what will become Chelmsford’s new ‘restaurant quarter’.

Wildwood Chelmsford @ Tolfalas.com

We sat outside, in Backnang Square, beside the river, which wasn’t quite as glamorous as it sounds, but not bad for Chelmsford.

It being a sneaky lunch we skipped starters and ordered a pizza each, Val ordering the ‘Wild Mushroom with Truffle Oil’ – a bit pricey, but I guess the Truffle Oil ain’t cheap – while I ordered the Spicy Meat Calzone. My first Calzone for many, many years.

With a bottle of the house white to wash them down. Normally I would have ordered myself a beer, but the house white, at about fifteen quid a bottle wasn’t a bad deal or, for that matter, a bad wine.

Our order was delivered promptly by the campest Maitre d’ this side of Glastonbury, my Calzone ‘decorated’ with salad trimmings to resemble a smiley face – I could almost feel the Italian nation cringing.

Wild Mushroom Pizza at Wildwood Chelmsford @ Tolfalas.com

Val’s pizza was huge and she said it was full of flavour.

'Smiley' Calzone at Wildwood Chelmsford @ Tolfalas.com

My ‘spicy’ Calzone was, however, under-seasoned, the sauce watery and the filling, frankly, not spicy. I’m sorry if this all sounds a bit ‘Masterchef’ but that’s the way it was ; it took a considerable amount of chilli oil from the bottle on the table to imbue the Calzone with any degree of heat, and much wrestling with the salt mill, something I’m not known for.

Val was finally defeated beaten by the size of her pizza, but took the remainder home to enjoy as a ‘doggy bag supper’.

All in all, it was a pleasant enough lunch, nothing to write home about, but not bad for a tad under forty quid for two, with the aforementioned bottle of white wine.

I suspect they’ll have to raise their game as local competition increases.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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