Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Laser Death Pizza Extravaganza

I have been to hell and it is in Croydon. All right, perhaps I exaggerate, but not a lot. On Saturday we had Matty's 10th birthday party which was held at the Laser Quest franchise in the Colonnades on The Purley Way. From the outside the building looks like a rather bland office block but inside it is designed to resemble a Mississippi steamboat, I kid you not. The steamboat illusion does not pass deep inspection and is soon revealed to be mostly a front for an extremely noisy amusement arcade replete with the latest shoot-'em-up games called things like Zombie Killer 4 and Death Jungle Zone 3. Each game comes with at least one machine gun and absolutely no volume control. Interspersed with the death dealing mayhem machines were driving games that gave very little consideration to the highway code called Death Racer VII or Mission Road Kill X or such like. Also dotted around the Stygian hall were several non-working pool and air-hockey tables serving primarily as surfaces for teenagers to lounge against and as anti-wheelchair obstacles. The thermostat was set to 'boil blood' level but they economised by having the lighting set at a level that required an infra-red night scope to see more than a few murky feet. Along one side of the arcade was the Laser Quest zone where groups of identical looking pre-teens loitered whilst awaiting their turn to dispense laser justice upon each other.

Matty and his micro-army of 9 laser armed friends vanished into the kill-zone to enact Armageddon while I hunted vainly for a cup of coffee. Eventually I took refuge in the party room we had reserved and was at last able to have a conversation that did not require shouting over the death throes of machine gunned zombies. After an hour or so Matty's army retired from the battlefield to devour hot-dogs and relive successful ambushes. Oh to be 10 again.

On Monday it was Matty's actual birthday and we took him (and Sam, obviously) out for tea. You put your taste-buds in the lap of the gods when you let a 10-year-old choose the restaurant you dine in, so it was with a sense of 'it could have been worse' that I trundled into Pizza Hut. I am not a huge fan of Pizza Hut so I was pleasantly surprised to find on the menu some relatively interesting looking Tuscani style pizzas. I settled on the Pollo Portobello with the “thinnest, lightest, crispiest pizza base” and “recipes inspired from the heart of Italy.” Perfecto! Unfortunately Matty had been swayed by the advertising that induced him to try a pizza surrounded by “a ring of 28 individual doughy bites bursting with cheese.“ Such a divine culinary experience only comes with pizzas the size of truck tyres and so he pleaded with me to share a vast meat-feast deep pan pizza. I closed my menu with a small sigh and said that I'd be delighted to share. It was his birthday after all and considering the years of pleasure he has given me it was a tiny sacrifice. As he sat, grinning from ear to ear, chewing on peperoni flavoured stringy bits, he thanked us for taking him out to 'a posh restaurant'. Is it any wonder I love him?

PS - Only have the ring of 28 individual doughy bites bursting with cheese if you enjoy cheesy flavoured chewing gum.

Until next time.