Don Pepe is a name that’s easy to remember and a name that you see quite often around Budapest.
Did you know that Don Pepe is the second largest restaurant chain in Budapest; McDonald’s being the first. But if we are talking pizza, then Don Pepe is the largest pizza restaurant chain in Hungary. You can often find Don Pepe serving food in major shopping malls and centres.
Starting in 1989, the first Don Pepe outlet was at Nyugati tér. Their popularity grew over the years and now they have 28 outlets throughout the country. Being a pizza lover, I was curious to discover why it has became the largest pizza restaurant chain in Hungary.
I decided to try out their delivery service. Looking through their web-site, my first impression was that they have a huge selection of dishes to choose from. Apart from pizzas, they also offer salad, pasta, soup, vegetarian dishes, side dishes, desserts, special dishes and seasonal dishes. If you thought Don Pepe only did pizzas, then think again.
Don Pepe is known for their pizzas and so I cannot write a review about Don Pepe without at least ordering their pizza…:)…And so I’ve ordered myself a Ranger pizza with an Omega-3 thin base from the traditional section, a Baked in Cheese pizza with normal base from their premium section, a Wonder duck risotto (new dish for 2014), Pepe’s cottage cheese dumplings and a Strudel with strawberry sauce.
The delivery from Don Pepe arrived on time; which was great, especially when hunger strikes. All the food was of a temperature ready to eat. As you can see in the photo; the pizzas came in their 32cm boxes and the others came in polystyrene containers with heat-sealed transparent plastic film. There were also some surprise Haribo candies – a promotional offer running between January 1st – 31st 2014, which you’ll receive with an order. My mouth was watering from the delicious smell and I couldn’t wait to taste the food.
First of all, the Ranger pizza with Omega-3 thin base. The Omega-3 base contains ground linseed, also known as flaxseed. Linseed contains high level of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. It also contains lignans; which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. The Omega-3 base is basically an option for those who are more dietary conscious and maybe want to feel a little less guilty about the pleasure of eating fast food.
The Ranger pizza consisted of BBQ sauce, cream cheese, roasted chicken, bacon, tomato slices and mozzarella cheese. The pizza was covered with all the different toppings and it looked juicy, and appetising. It smelled fantastic. It tasted delicious too. There was a combination of rich favours from the saltiness of the bacon, the roast taste of the chicken bits and the juiciness of the tomato slices. The Omega-3 base tasted a little like wholemeal; a subtle nutty flavour. I think the ingredients worked very well together.
The Baked in Cheese pizza consisted of Parmesan layered with cream cheese, topped with Camembert slices and a sprinkle of seeds. The pizza smelled aromatic and cheesy. Initially, I was worried that the pizza might have an overpowering cheesy taste to it, as Parmesan and Camembert are both strong cheese. However, I needn’t have worried. The pizza did taste cheesy but it was not overpowering in the slightest. The layers of cheese created a soft centre section and, when you bite into the slice, the soft cheese oozes into your mouth. As for the seeds, I felt they were a little bold. Personally, I would prefer a cheesy aftertaste rather than a strong nutty flavour from the seeds.
This year, Don Pepe has introduced their new risotto dishes, with six different varieties to choose from: Zucchini Chicken, Beef, Risotto with Parmesan, Rissotto with mushroom, Wonder duck and Frutti di Mare.
Risotto is basically an Italian rice dish cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The Wonder duck risotto from Don Pepe was made with duck breast, garlic, dried tomato, mushroom, parsley, creamy bouillon, Parmesan, rice, butter, olive oil, onion, white wine and ruccola. It looked creamy and it smelled similar to mushroom soup, which was absolutely wonderful. As you can see in the photo; the risotto was served with ruccola on top. You can clearly see parsley and dried tomato mixed in. The risotto was beige in color. Beneath the risotto, there was a whole sliced duck breast. The duck breast was tender and soft, perfect with the creamy, mushroom taste of the risotto. This dish was salty but I really enjoyed it. I would highly recommend everyone share and taste it with friends.
Don Pepe has quite a few different selection of desserts to choose from and, of course, I simply must taste them.
First of all, I tasted Pepe’s cottage cheese dumplings, which are made with two cottage cheese balls, served with sour cream, breadcrumbs, caster sugar and cinnamon. The cottage cheese ball itself has a mild taste which goes well when eaten with sour cream. There’s a delightfully creamy texture with a hint of tartness. The dessert is perfect for cleansing your palate after a heavy meal.
Then, the Strudel with strawberry sauce; made with cottage cheese, vanilla sugar, lemon, cream, vernicelli, home-made strudel pastry, sugar and raspberry. Presentation-wise, it’s not the most enticing but this was a home-delivery, after all. You can clearly see layers of cream sandwiched with layers of strudel pastry, served with raspberry sauce. At the base of the strudel, there was also a layer of cottage cheese. The strudel tasted refreshing with the sourness of the raspberry sauce and the cold creamy layers of strudel. It was light and delicately sweet. It was a good choice to round my enjoyable experience with Don Pepe’s home-delivery.
Overall: The delivery came on-time and the food was still warm. The menu has a wide range of dishes to choose from. All the food tasted well and the quality was great. It’s evident why Don Pepe has became Hungary’s biggest pizza restaurant chain.
* I will be trying one of Don Pepe’s à’la carte restaurants next, so make sure you come back for more reviews of Don Pepe from me, your tasty buddy…:)
Check out Don Pepe’s web-site and order yours now on //www.donpepe.hu/