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Food review: Rebels Pizzeria & Pancake House, Wolverhampton

By Leigh Sanders | Weekend | Published:

Pizza and pancakes – the perfect combination, but what if you’re health conscious? Rebels has the answer, and there’s no sacrifice on flavour. . .

Pile it high – strawberry and cream pancake with fresh fruit, sauce and vanilla creamPictures by John Sambrooks

Rebels is the perfect name for a pizzeria and pancake house.

We’re all becoming health-obsessed nuts. Television, blogs, social media, magazines – they’re all telling us we need to be thinner and fitter.

Even the news headlines report the strain obesity is putting on the NHS – so we should be doing more to look after ourselves.

We can’t argue with that.

Rebel pizza with tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, chicken, smoked bacon and spring onions

So with this in mind, should we be feeling guilty that our restaurant of choice was peddaling two foodstuffs not exactly known for their health benefits – pizza and pancakes? That’s where the name comes in; you feel like a rebel, going against all the warnings and advice and stuffing your face full of bad-for-you goodness.

Except in this instance it’s not completly bad. No, this is where the twist comes in. This isn’t pizza on you standard delivery shop level, where when you’ve finished your stomach groans as the oil and grease sits heavy in your tummy, and you feel guilty for the culinary crime you’ve just committed.

Rebels’ pizzas are on a wholemeal base, the cheese feels light and you can easily polish off a 12-inch beauty – as we did – and still have room for a pint in the pub after.

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Rebels Pizzeria & Pancake House is the latest food heaven to spring up in Chapel Ash, taking up residence just down from The Clarendon.

It’s small but that makes it friendly. There’s roughly six or seven tables, with the counter and pizza ovens at the back next to a customer toilet, which, for a venue of this size, is clean and tidy and doesn’t fill you with dread about using.

Rebel pizza with tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, chicken, smoked bacon and spring onions

As soon as we walked in at least one staff member gave us a warm welcome; it put us at ease right away. There had been some debate during our journey to Rebels whether this was actually somewhere you could sit and eat, or was purely just a takeaway joint. We’d had a real back and forth about whether we’d be sat at a table tucking into our treats, or cramped inside the car with a pizza box on our laps feeling sheepish. There wasn’t too much indication online; the restaurant hasn’t yet got a website.

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Seated immediately on this mild summer’s evening we then enjoyed the next lovely touch of the evening; jugs of tap water on a shelf filled with ice and flavoured with slices of fruit for customers to help themselves to. It’s only something small, but suddenly you feel like you’re being treated as a person rather than just a profit. Not everyone can afford a big night out. Knowing that if money is tight you can get a very reasonably priced pizza – 12-inch or 18-inch – and not have to worry about stumping up for drinks is a big bonus for some. In a world of faceless corporations it’s nice to feel valued. The menu is small and simple. I’m sure this may increase in size as the brand travels. There’s two sections to choose from – pretty obviously, pizza and pancakes. There’s also a vegan menu, which covers both food stuffs, and there are vegan-freindly drinks.

Flipping good – Rebels Pizzeria & Pancake House

What struck us most was the feel of the place. This wasn’t as hipster as we’d feared; we were made to feel at home. There’s no food served on wooden slabs here. It wasn’t formal; you could pop in quickly before heading on. And the food arrived quickly. If you needed something fast it could fit any timeframe.

We discussed when this might be useful: After a long day at the office when cooking seems too exhausting; maybe with a group of friends looking for a light bite to eat before making the short walk into the city centre for a night on the tiles; or could the parent of a particularly-fussy-eating child want a night off domestic duties without losing either the will to live as each item on the menu is ruled out due to an unwanted ingredient, or parting with a wad of cash for the pleasure? It’s ideal for all these situations.

Get dressed to impress – garlic chicken pizza

The pizzas didn’t take long to choose. We chose one each and then split them in half to share. I opted for the garlic chicken pizza which came topped with tomato sauce, cheese, chicken, peppers, garlic and ranch drizzle. It would normally have sweetcorn on it too but we declined that as my partner hates the stuff. Again, more points for staff helpfulness and another plus for parents of fussy eaters.

This had a really sweet taste despite the absence of sweetcorn. The chicken was in generous chunks; the chefs certainly weren’t stingy. The ranch drizzle added some real flavour too. It made it feel lighter again, like you were slap bang in the Med gorging on fresh ingredients plucked from sun-kissed fields. My other half had the Rebel – tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, chicken, smoked bacon and spring onions on that thin crust, tasty wholemeal base.

Pile it high – strawberry and cream pancake with fresh fruit, sauce and vanilla creamPictures by John Sambrooks

This was the pick of the bunch. Real bacon on a pizza – delicious! The ingredients paired sweet and salty to perfection. The spring onions added a little extra tang to the meat overload and yet that thin base didn’t make you feel like you were filling up too much on dough.

Some people – and this sounds mental, we know – like pizza but aren’t big lovers of cheese. Well they can eat here too. The pizzas weren’t smothered in the stuff and so the toppings don’t slide off when you pull slices apart, even this ingredient was well-judged – and healthier as a result. Delicious too.

We washed it down with some of their vegan-friendly cans of pop from the Nix & Kix range. My other half particularly enjoyed the peach and vanilla flavour, while I had a Juicy Fuel cherry cola. This consisted of real cherries squeezed in with natural fruit juice cola. It was gorgeous; sweet and refreshing it offset the savoury food perfectly. They come with a cayenne kick mixed in which was a little too strong for a spice-hating wuss like me. But the flavour as a whole was lush before the jolt of spice kicked in.

Another nice touch was that the drinks are available to pick for yourself from a fridge at the side of the counter. You just pick one up and pay for it immediately, or open a tab and flash your card at a member of staff, who’ll add it to the bill.

Chocolate, strawberry and banana pancake

So the question of whether or not to indulge in pancakes crossed our mind. The dessert dishes consist of a stack of four – either traditional American fluffy or ‘champion’ style which are healthier, low in gluten and made with almond flour and chia seeds.

We both went for the American-style ones. I had strawberry and cream, comprising fresh strawberries and accompanying dishes of house vanilla cream and sweet strawberry sauce.

These admittedly weren’t as show-stopping as the pizzas but were still enjoyable and tantalisingly saccharine. The pancakes themselves more than lived up to their ‘fluffy’ description.

They were a little more than filling, and maybe Rebels could offer a smaller portion as an option for those of us that have just devoured a whole pizza.

My partner had chocolate, strawberry and banana. These again came with fresh fruit smothered in a house chocolate cream.

Ace of base – the interior is minimilistic and stylish

She couldn’t quite finish them, finally admitting defeat with a few mouthfuls left. But she, too, enjoyed the sweet finish to the evening, particularly the devilsihly sticky sauce.

We were pretty pleased at this point; delighted with our discovery and proud we’d taken the plunge and given it a try.

And as we left, we still had some room to fit in that cold beverage in the Clarendon.

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders
@LSanders_Star

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at leigh.sanders@expressandstar.co.uk

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