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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mr. Pizza: My first taste of Korea's #1 pizza chain

When it comes to pizza, my top of mind choice would usually be Italian or American concepts, although to be completely honest, I'm not that into pizzas anymore. Still, when I first heard about Mr. Pizza, I was intrigued. What kind of pizza does this place offer? How is a Korean pizza chain any different from what we're already used to?

Mr Pizza Review

I've been seeing Mr. Pizza at SM North The Block's Food Circuit for over a month now. However, it wasn't until I attended a Bloggers' Fashion and Food Crawl at Robinsons Place Manila, that I finally got a taste of Mr. Pizza.

Mr Pizza at Robinsons Place Manila
Mr Pizza
Handmade pizzas and pizza tossing at Mr Pizza
Mr Pizza Philippines

The Mr. Pizza branch at Robinsons Place Manila feels inviting with a nicely-lit space and LCD screens lined on one of the walls. They also play fun and upbeat K-Pop songs (on screen too) which really add to the Korean feel of the place. But one of the things that had be hyped for the pizza house was their live pizza tossing show when the sign on the open kitchen says "On Air" is lit up.

Choose your crust for Premium Pizzas (With additional fee)

To be honest, I was hesitant of trying out Mr. Pizza on my own before because of a few comments I've heard from other foodies. "Their pizzas taste weird." I wasn't sure how I should take that feedback, so I didn't even hold any expectation upon seeing Mr. Pizza on the list of our Fashion and Food Crawl.

But, all that was about to be turned upside down...

Premium Pizzas


The chain offers premium pizzas which prices are significantly higher than their classic line. However, if you want to really explore what Mr. Pizza can offer, I'd say, it's worth to splurge and indulge on their premium choices. Especially if it's your first time.

Macho Grande (P630 Regular; P830 Large) (Plus P100 for Mocha Bun Crust)
✓ Macho Grande (P630 Regular; P830 Large)
Plus P100 for Mocha Bun Crust

Probably the weirdest, but my most favorite pizza out of the ones we've tried is this unusual combo of sweet and savory. The Macho Grande pizza as is, is a medley of crispy strips of round steak and soft potatoes, like a pizza version of steak-and-potatoes to put it simply. But what made it more special, for me at least, was the mocha bun crust (tastes like the round coffee bun) filled with cream cheese. I know, it doesn't make sense. But it doesn't have to.

If it weirds you out, you can opt to eat the topped pizza first, and then go for the crust separately treating it kinda like a post-meal dessert. But if you're pretty adventurous, eat them in one bite and be at awe at the unusual but enjoyable combination of flavors.

Seafood Island 2 (P800 Regular; P980 Large) (Plus P100 for Gold Crust)
✓ Seafood Island 2 (P800 Regular; P980 Large)
Plus P100 for Gold Crust

Another premium pizza we got to try, and which I really liked (not as much as the previous one though), is this seafood feast of a pizza. Topped with shrimp, squid, crunchy coconut shrimp (yes, shrimp again), bell pepper and black olives, we had paired with the gold crust which has smooth sweet potato mousse inside. Yup, it seems like a weird pizza combination yet again. But it's one that works, and one that I really dig!

If you've already noticed, there are unusual pizza crust options that make the already-unique pizza toppings at Mr. Pizza even more unusual. I believe they're only available for the Premium pizzas selection though.

  • Original (free): default pizza crust that comes with a garlic dip
  • Egg Tart (P100): crust lined with sweet custard (like egg tarts)
  • Cheddarella (P100): crust coated with cheddar and mozzarella
  • Gold (P100): crust filled with smooth sweet potato mousse
  • Cream Cheese (P200): crust filled with cream cheese
  • Mocha Bun (P100): mocha-infused dough (like coffee buns) and filled with cream cheese
  • Cheese Cap (P200): crust filled with cheese mousse


I've heard that their Eggta pizza with egg tart crust is another bestseller. I'll have to try this one on my next Mr. Pizza visit.

Korean-Style Pizzas


Since this pizza house excels in offering unusual flavors of pizzas, it's a no brainer that they'd also have toppings inspired by Korean cuisine...

Dak Galbi (Spicy Chicken) Pizza (P380 Regular; P580 Large)
Dak Galbi Pizza (P380 Regular; P580 Large)

Inspired by dak galbi, or spicy chicken, this pizza oozes with spicy and savory notes from gochujang. Combined with sweet potatoes, green bell peppers, some kimchi and teriyaki sauce, this pizza tastes so much like ulam that I can't help myself from looking for plain white rice despite the apparent pizza dough and kamote carb situation. For spicy food lovers though, I think the heat level from the pizza alone wouldn't suffice, so you can go crazy with the hot sauce.

Bulgogi Pizza (P380 Regular; P580 Large)
✓ Bulgogi Pizza (P380 Regular; P580 Large)

Although this variant is actually from their classic line, I still think it's pretty much inspired by Korean food basing it from the name itself. Kekeke. Anyhow, among the variants we had, I believe this is the safest, most "usual" pizza choice for the not-so-adventurous foodie. The topping is mostly charcoal-grilled beef bulgogi, which interestingly tasted like ground beef burger, along with some onions and gooey cheese. From my perspective, it's a cheeseburger in pizza form.

Oven-Baked Pasta


There are a few pasta choices at Mr. Pizza, but all of them are oven-baked just like their pizzas. They seem to like to do things uniformly and consistently.

Oven Baked Bacon Cream Spaghetti (P280)
Oven Baked Bacon Cream Spaghetti (P280)

Topped with lots of cheese, this oven baked spaghetti is Mr. Pizza's version of carbonara. And while I'm not really a big fan of cream sauce-based pasta dishes, I have to say that this can be missed if you're not a carbonara addict anyway. The pizzas are way, way, waaaaay more interesting.

Dessert and Drinks


There are only three dessert items at Mr. Pizza, and they're all bingsu or Korean shaved ice desserts -- coffee, Oreo and mango.

Mango Bingsu (P88)
Mango Bingsu Up-Close
✓ Mango Bingsu (P88)

I've had countless shaved ice desserts in my foodie life, but Mr. Pizza's is definitely one of the more memorable ones, and in a very good way. The mango variant is topped with not only a good portion of diced sweet mangoes, but also a generous amount of fun, peach-flavored popping boba. But the star of this dessert is definitely the finely shaved ice which is already infused with milk. Each spoonful easily melts in the mouth, and it's so light and refreshing, one can't simply not finish off a meal at Mr. Pizza without trying any of their bingsu.

As for the premium beverage choices at Mr. Pizza, they offer the floral and tangy Citron Ade (P80), the sweet, zesty and tangerine-y Hallabong Ade (P80), and the aromatic Aloe Ade (P80) with chewy aloe bits -- all of which are fizzy, not-too-sweet drinks perfect to go with the pizzas. There's just something that makes it more enjoyable when pizza is downed with a carbonated drink, don't you think?

THE VERDICT

When it comes to unique combination of flavors, there's bound to have totally opposing reactions. I can still clearly remember hearing from friends and acquaintances how "weird" Mr. Pizza's creations are. However, upon trying it out for myself, I found that it's a weird concept that perfectly works. And upon doing a bit of research, I've even found out that Mr. Pizza is actually the king of weird pizzas in Korea (weird is actually common there). And while some may not easily warm up to its charm and unique flavors, being the number 1 pizza chain in Korea accounts for something.

For the past 2 years now, I found myself falling out of affection from pizzas. I guess age (hence my more conscious food choices) is the main reason. However, after discovering Mr. Pizza and their premium line (of weirder variants), I think I have now found a pizza place worthy of being my top-of-mind cheat meal destination.

Taste 4.5/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Mr. Pizza, Robinsons Place Manila
G/F Robinsons Place Manila,
Pedro Gil cor. Ermita, Manila, Philippines
(02) 246-9069 ext 636
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