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Dough review

Jonathan Schofield finds Dough presenting the first Manchester equal opportunities menu....and that isn't enough

Written by . Published on August 11th 2009.

Dough review

Dough’s been open for almost ten months and I’m still trying to get my head round it.

The truth is that the kitchen simply isn’t working properly at Dough. It’s not only wheat intolerant too but getting on for taste intolerant. Maybe equal opportunity menus don't work.

It occupies a lovely building, beautifully restored, which from the style I’d guess is 1870s. Picked out in gold you get the names of what the original business here sold: 'dressing bags, cases, cutlery, clocks, cabinets, bronzes, china, glass.' Working here were, 'gold and silversmiths'.

Dough has a sister business, next door, Apotheca, a bar. The interior of Apotheca matches this original flamboyance with a moody atmosphere bordering on the bordello. It’s alluring. Designer Paul Astill, also well-known for his work at Kitchen at the Circle, has done a seductive job here in his trademark lush style.

Dough is less good when it comes to decor, a mix of Croma and San Carlo which fails. Aside from a chequerboard waiting area and some odd red glass lampshades it’s a big blank: whites, pale tones and hard surfaces. Any noise pings off the walls like ricocheting bullets. Take some ear muffs on busy nights.

The menu is as plain as the decor. You yearn for the sort of joie de vivre that the nineteenth century designer of the building displayed.

On the last visit, and I’ve had three goes at Dough, we had, cured meat sautéed in red wine (£3.95), a pizza rustica (£6.50) with extra anchovies, and a wholemeal pizza (£6.45) with a veggie top. I then nipped back on my own for a warmed spiced apple and fruit folded sweet calzone (£4.25).

Previously I’ve had a starter salad of tomato, mango and onion (£ 3.50) and a main of steak gnocchi (£6.95). Also if memory serves garlic prawns as well (£4.95).

It's very sad to report that almost all of this food has been clumsy. Take a look at the pizza rustica in these pictures. This came with rocket. Given the Italian theme of the menu, maybe the rocket is so stacked to resemble Mount Vesuvius. There's certainly more of it than there is the volcano. Slightly past its best and overfacing as well, the rocket had to be scooped off on to a side plate.

‘Pizza Rustica’ (country-esque, rustic) would imply a certain sort of robustness of course, but this was taken too far. The only successful dish was the cured meat which came in the form of ‘thickly cut Tuscan sausage cooked in red wine, lemon and rosemary and served with dough bread to dip'. This was an honest to goodness heavyweight with rich flavours and excellent textures. The spiced apple calzone had more going for it than against it too. But the steak gnocchi which came with strips of steak, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms in a creamy wine and tomato sauce was, in contrast, and despite all those different bits and bobs, flavourless and presentationally a mess.

The menu might be plain but it is worthy. Dough tries harder for those with special dietary needs than any other Manchester restaurant. You can get gluten-free pizzas, wholewheat pizzas, dairy free pizzas. Again sad to report, one of my guests tried the wholewheat version and found it odd, in turn too tough and too soft. She said: “Maybe the Italians don’t do these types of pizza because they don’t work.”

Of course giving choice for those with particular dietary problems is admirable. Menu captions also talk about local sourcing and the like. Meanwhile money from the Dinky Dough menu for kids goes to charity (the kids offer is in fact very good; kids can make their own pizzas and get a ‘pizza pack’).

This is lovely, but I feel it's overstated. It’s like sitting in a Town Hall reception reading the local government notices.

‘Here at Dough’, announces the website, ‘we are all getting very excited about being nominated for a Manchester Food and Drink Festival Award for the category Healthy and Sustainable Eating sponsored by Food Futures?’ Gourmands probably won’t be sharing that enthusiasm. Newcomer of the Year would have been more stimulating.

The problem is that if all the worthiness produces a bland dining experience, if niceness is flavourless then there’s a big problem. The truth is that the kitchen simply isn’t working properly at Dough. It’s not only wheat intolerant too but getting on for taste intolerant. Maybe equal opportunity menus don't work. On a side issue the service on our last visit to Dough was exemplary.

The owners - who I know and admire for their courage - should go outside and study the building again. The effect of choosing differently shaded materials (see the picture) was called polychromatic. Dough is monochromatic. It needs to up its game, invigorate the menu, take food presentation lessons, relegate all the worthy stuff to an add-on award-winning feature not seemingly the main event.

Above all, to quote French again, it requires je ne sais quois. It needs to put colour on the walls and into the food, then Dough might rise. This place has massive potential after all. If the owners can create a buzz with Apotheca then doing the same with Dough shouldn't be beyond them.

All scored reviews are independent critiques and paid for by Confidential. Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.

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90 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

I visited Dough with my Boy'f for a mid week cheap eat. I also had the Pizza Rustica and my other half had a veggie pizza. All I can say is bland, bland bland and what a disappointment the meal was. Rustica had a huge mound of rocket and that was about it, there was not much else I could taste. My Boy’f was really disappointed with his, sweetcorn, a small amount of cheese, mushrooms and a few peppers = BLAND and nothing else to say about it.It's Croma all the way for me I’m afraid, you can't beat it. Great service, fab food at reasonable prices.There are so many mediocre restaurants in Manchester compared to other cities, especially if you are on a budget. It's a real disappointment. A few of my favorites in Manchester are Kim by the Sea, amazing food I love it, Croma for yummy pizza’s and Red Chilli (Portland street restaurant not oxford rd) for its specialist Asian Sichuan Cuisine, try one of the hot pots which are lovely.

CarolineAugust 11th 2009.

I'm really surprised with all these reviews! I've been twice and think it's great. Loads better than Pizza Express, and don't even mention Croma to me! Boycotted after TWICE receiving appalling service.

compassionate personAugust 11th 2009.

woooh chick you've made a helluva lot of assumptions about me there, I don't have an allergy but i am a vegan who would never buy a £2 chicken at morrisons. Fwiw i'm not a big fan of single issue class based campaigns about veal etc either. i have worked in various cafes (non veggie) and am tolerant of what other people eat - i have to be or i would have no friends. the customer you describe sounds a right twat and the kind of person i find very annoying - like a "veggie who eats fish" who makes life that little bit harder for those who realise fish is not a vegetable. I, and my friends, love food and eating, take much joy in it but between we do have many tales of non veggie food turning up on our plates. Most recently this was chicken in a 'vegan' dish at wagamamas which was pretty bloody unpleasant; in the case of people who do have allergies this kind of thing could be dangerous. And before someone has a go at me for a belief system try substituting vegan for muslim and chicken for ham. I wish places would be honest and say veggies not welcome or we can not guarantee your safety or our ability to give you the meal you have orderd - there are many places of all kinds that are lovely and can be trusted - i'm happy to avoid those, like yours, that find us a chore.

SteveAugust 11th 2009.

This review reminded me of my initial impression of Dough as unfinished -- on the first night when it really was unfinished... the decor, not the food.Now, I actually, think Dough when I think pizza but then again I only order what I like - that being the Vegetarian Deluxe. The pizza is strangely different every time I go but I've got to respect that... In a world that offers supersize everything and obesity on a plate is it really that bad to get a supersize portion of rocket every now and then?I like Dough. I love the Vegetarian Deluxe on a standard base. It's a great pizza at a totally reasonable price.Also, I'm glad that I can order food that intolerant people can enjoy too... well, almost all intolerant people.. ;)I'll end on a pizza Top Tip. If you desire a standard pizza simply avoid the specialist menu - leave that to the experts and then think yourself lucky you can...

thebirdisthewordAugust 11th 2009.

Sun dried tomato - I'm also veggie, I’ve been to Dough twice and on both occasions found the pizza toppings bland...but it was mostly the base itself that was the issue. I had the same qualms with the place as my fellow, meat-eating diners - the fact that they just can't seem to get the basics right makes Dough a huge disappointment

jimi cAugust 11th 2009.

I've been to Dough loads of times for pizza and have never had a bad experience. The service and pizza and prices are great and although it's something I've never liked anywhere else, the wholemeal base is good. Since Dough has opened I've stopped going to Pizza Express and Chroma. I am veggie and they are definietely getting this area of the menu right.

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

We ate here the other night - a hopeful return visit after an uninspiring early first trip - and once again were sorely disappointed. Our main problem was with the food (the service was good, the environment inoffensive) - the pizza base was tasteless, the passata over sweet, the toppings undercooked. It should be so much better!

compassionate personAugust 11th 2009.

we can agree on that cas - they drive me mad too

Eric CantonaAugust 11th 2009.

Eaten here a few times. The pasta is just oven baked and tasteless, the pizzas arent up to much. They should be doing a lot better.

CasAugust 11th 2009.

I think 'diary free pizzas' are a smashing idea. I so hate it when my lunchtime pizza reminds me of what I have on that afternoon! EDITORIAL COMMENT: Cas, changed, thanks. And oops.

sun dried tomatoAugust 11th 2009.

janeybaby - no i'm not, don't have anything to do with the place except as a customer and i have to say i do realy like the pizza at dough, my favourite in town - last time i went to croma it was very dull. i do wonder though: i'm veggie and most of the complaints seem to be about things i wouldnt eat. Everyone i've been with has been veggie too and they have all liked it enough to return.

leighAugust 11th 2009.

scrummy? is that word still in use?

emma graceAugust 11th 2009.

Pizza restaurant that can't really (from the comments) do pizzas all that well...something's gone wrong somewhere!

A manager of restaurantsAugust 11th 2009.

Was strolling round northern quarter last night, checking out menus and wondering where to eat. Bluu had a decent 3course offer on, Market was reassuring, NQR looked interesting and Dough seemed cheap and cheerful. Eaten at all before except dough. Went for NQR, thoroughly enjoyed it and after reading the above comments (approx 90% negative) really pleased I didn't spend my one night off in Dough.

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

thanks for the comments - was going to try dough but won't bother now- I love pizza with a few glasses of wine as a casual girly night but have been a bit wary after the olive press and had 3 courses incluidng pizza which just didn't taste of anything - i am now a coward and tend to stick to pizza express unless anybody has any other suggestions - polite ones please.

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

surprised this place is still open.

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

My husband is coeliac and I think its great that there is a place we can go to for pizza, the menu is a little limited but at least they are trying to cater for dietary needs. I agree though that the place is very noisy.

HMLAugust 11th 2009.

I have been to Dough on several occasions and have enjoyed all of the visits. It is a nice place and has a nice atmosphere. The staff are always really friendly and helpful. As with some of the previous comments from others, I also suffer from Coeliac Disease and therefore really struggle these days to eat in restaurants. Most of the staff in restaurants appear unaware of the content of the food that they serve and blindly agree that the food is suitable for you, when it isn't. I love going to Dough and ordering a gluten-free base/dough sticks/garlic bread and not having to worry that I will be ill for two days afterwards (this is a constant worry when visiting other places). So I say well done Dough for being brave enough to try something different. It is worth noting that I have contacted some of the other Pizza places such as Pizza Express and they have stated that they have no plans to introduce gluten free bases and that they cannot see how they could make this work. Dough are obviously a little more organised than they are then...

compassionate personAugust 11th 2009.

cas- what a selfish and ignorant comment. As stated on mancon before people may have allergies or deeply held ethical beliefs but that does not mean we should be ostracised or segregated from the rest of the world. Personally i respect your right to eat what you like and not be lied to about what it is, i dont care what the person at the table next to me doeas as long as they respect my rights too. And jinkie yes, there is recompense. But it does not make up for being ill or repulsed, and one would hope for an honest description from waiting staff. Sadly there are too many cases of chicken in veggie dishes for me to feel comfortable in many places. It is about consumer rights and respect (hello wagamama who told me in a letter despite their menu veggie could not be gauranteed!)

RKAugust 11th 2009.

Pizzas are terrible. As it says on the tin. Pure dough. Not cooked well, lacking flavour. Unfortunate as the building is great and the concept needed in the Northern Quarter.

JinkiesAugust 11th 2009.

I might be wrong, but if the waiting staff say the food is gluten free or whatever, and it turns out to not be (and makes you ill for days afterwards) is there not some form of recompense you can get? Complaint to the food standards authority perhaps? Why not name and shame the lying venues here.

ancoats girlAugust 11th 2009.

We ate here once and thought it was very poor. Boyfriend had the penne vodka with chicken added. It was flavourless (no taste of tomato let alone vodka) and the chicken tasted suspiciously like cheap formed chicken breast bits - I always can tell by the metallic taste. We sent it back. To be fair, they were very gracious about it, and not only offered an alternate dish and took both off the bill - but curiously they didn't seem to want to know what the problem was. We both ended up having an american hot pizza. It was incredibly salty and the pizza dough was very average. We left hungry and disappointed that we'd spent £30 on mediocre fare yet again. It's a shame, as it could be a really nice place. Is it that hard to sort out quality toppings and decent dough when you have a proper oven, as it seems they do? I'd rather go to Piccolino, or even Pizza Express (those new romano bases aren't bad you know, and at least you can go 2-4-1 a lot of the time!)

RossAugust 11th 2009.

What a shame, the few times I've been to Dough I've really enjoyed it. I think the menu and the price reflects the type of restaurant it is well, and I would favour it over it's chain competitors any day. It may not be up to Croma standard yet, but then Croma's over the other end of town so if you're in the NQ area then it's much handier. I'd recommend the Moroccan Lamb pizza or Beef Gnocchi. I hope people yet to try this restaurant aren't put off by this review.

JAugust 11th 2009.

jp, I suppose each and everyone has different expectations.

CasAugust 11th 2009.

And you'll see what I clearly said was food allergy sufferers. I don't mean the ones who walk past a nut and have to be rushed to A&E but all the wheat allergies and people who've been to those testers and been told they're allergic to everything! People who are overweight, tired or sickly and have been told it's because of a prawn or dired pasta or milk. I once read that at least 90% of food allergies are false, but you know what they say about stats!

jbAugust 11th 2009.

As a wheat free diner, I must say Dough is a god send. Just when I though my days of pizza eating were over...I have had some good mealss at Dough and can recommend the gluten free bases and breadsticks. It isnt the ultimate dining experience but its a good pizza in a sociable atmosphere. And it allows me to eat pizza!!!

Gordo's GeekAugust 11th 2009.

Anon, I thought that too - we obviously look to ensure what you're suggesting doesn't happen. I confirm that these comments are all from unique, registered users.

lucky-chrisAugust 11th 2009.

Never been, probably never will after these rants, never written a review of a restaurant either.... but if service is described as "exemplary" then shouldn't it get 5/5?

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

We went here for a work night out and thought it was really nice. Reasonably priced and fast service. No complaints!

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

lots of mentions of croma here, are they paying people to slag dough off?

EmilyAugust 11th 2009.

I've been to Dough a couple of times. The first time was for dinner with some friends and the food was fine. Not particularly memorable, but ok. The second time we went for lunch with work and waited 45 minutes for our food. Considering most people only get an hour for lunch, and there were only THREE other tables of people in there, I thought that was absolutely shocking. They kept apologising when they realised we were getting really annoyed, but never explained why the food was taking so long. Oh, and I had the steak gnocchi and it had so much cheese on top that it was actually difficult to eat. And I love cheese.

DavidAugust 11th 2009.

The pizza I had there was without any taste. Flavourless. The service slow. A cup of tea arrived with less than half a cup of liquid. We got vouchers for free pizza but decided to leave them on the table.

JayneyBabyAugust 11th 2009.

This place is just plain boring. Amateurish and just not interested, along with poor knowledge of how to deliver flavours abounds. Please don't tell me that it has been put in the 'newcomers' at the food 'awards'. Please, whoever has put the money in, sack the management and start again. It's a 9/10 tops, by the way. You are being nice. 2/5 ambience, 3/5 service and 4/10 food.

JaneybabyAugust 11th 2009.

Sun Dried Tomato, are you part of the management that owns Dough?

jpAugust 11th 2009.

I'm surprised by the negative comments here. I've been to Dough about 4 times now and I've enjoyed every visit, as have the family and friends that I have taken there! The only disappointing pizza was one my brother had once called somthing like the Americano because it had too much meat on it, but it did list the ingredients on the menu so he couldn't really complain! We've had a few different pizzas between us which I thought were all of a good standard personally, and the service has been good even when the place has been really busy.

CasAugust 11th 2009.

Compassionate person, it works both ways this. I once went to Piccolinos and ordered a chicken and veg pasta dish and it came with no chicken! I was mortified. Never been back ;)

CasAugust 11th 2009.

Back to the pizzas, I don't understand what's so difficult. I've been to the Napoli pizza house, de michele's, which is supposed to the best in the world and the one in Rome (can't remember name) that's it's rival. Napoli is more sloppy base and Rome thin and cripsy, I prefer Rome just! However they keep it simple and get it right. If you're going to open a pizzeria, surely getting the base right is step one. And if you served that pizza with a bush on top in Napoli, you'd get laughed out of town. In fact they'd find some law you had broke and bribe 500 Euros out of you for that! Up for best newcomer? Just confirms what a lot of people think of those self serving awards.

emma graceAugust 11th 2009.

Agree with most of the above. It's not awful, it's not amazing. It's pizza that could be much better. I've been a few times, mainly because it's pretty good when there's a large group of you. I don't go expecting amazing food though.

scoteeeAugust 11th 2009.

Went to Dough last night as Apotheca stopped serving food from 6pm,couldn't have been more dissapointed the prawns were small and couldnt be more tasteless.Seasoning in the pizzas was lacking too.I dont get it its so easy to fix,the pizza dough is clearly not rested or poor mix before being ovened.the menu isnt great the only fish option is salmon and rocket ? cant remember.just really poor quality bland food that wouldnt take much fixing if the the pallete of the chef was better than a leather jacket. Atmosphere was good though I dont like paying £3.15 for a little bottle of Peroni.

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

Despite a bad first experience (dough was completely un cooked in the middle) I was forced to go back by my partner. Yet again it was poorly made pizza, little topping and pretty tasteless. Undeterred, my partner forced me to go for the third time saying I'd been ‘too harsh’, given I’m always one for giving a person a chance, I agreed. It was another disaster of a visit – I was given a meat pizza instead of the veggie one which I had requested (an issue for a veggie generally). On pointing this out they took both our pizzas away and made me another one; however they seemingly just shoved my partner’s pizza back into the oven to re-heat. This over-cooked it and the result was a totally in-edible pizza that he just couldn’t eat. Given we’d already been there over an hour because of the earlier order error, we decided not to bother ordering another and ultimately both left hungry. THANKFULLY this time my partner agreed with my view that we will – this time - never go back.

CasAugust 11th 2009.

'best in England', did your friend from NYC have a jumpjet that landed them outside dough and took them straight back to the big apple!That has to be a leg pull.

PaulAugust 11th 2009.

Did you ask for one pizza burnt and the other one raw ?

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

Eaten there once, it was not spectacular but certainly not the worst place I've eaten so I think some of the reviews are either very unfair or maybe you caught them on a bad day!

DidsburyGirlAugust 11th 2009.

Popped in here as a stop off between Trof and Common one night - Didn't think it was too bad to be honest, fairly inexpensive and friendly staff, but maybe that was because i'd already had a couple of ciders and everything had a nice fuzzy edge to it

JAugust 11th 2009.

I hate 'doughy' pizza anyway...it has to be very think and crispy for me. So the fact that it is called 'dough' puts me off. The lack of flavour people are complaining about is the nail in the coffin as there is nothing worse than a load of dough and no flavour...

CubbyAugust 11th 2009.

Agreed. Went there last night and was really disappointed. Had the garlic prawns, which were rubbery and flavourless and a chilli beef pizza, which again was under seasoned. Service was friendly though.

AlfonzAugust 11th 2009.

Every pizza has mozzarella on it so is completely tasteless dominoes is miles better maybe they should order in

JAugust 11th 2009.

HML, don't worry, when it comes to pizza, I'll be making my own at home rather than eat it here...regardless of what I can and can't eat.

sproutAugust 11th 2009.

beat me to it, Cas

POPAugust 11th 2009.

Ive been to Dough on a number of occasions and the food has been lovely the service outstanding. Loved it. Some people are just too bloody picky.

BabyAugust 11th 2009.

This place is up for an award at the MFDF? Why? I must ask the same question of Robert Owen Brown at the Angel, given both my experience in dining there and the comments left on here regarding the £15 offer

Thomas the RhymerAugust 11th 2009.

The scoring's right. In the marking scheme 12.5/20 is 'if you're passing'. That's fair enough. Maybe Confidential needs to do a breakdown of what 6/10 means for food - 'dull and mediocre' one suspects.

CasAugust 11th 2009.

This coeliac disease, now I'm sure there are some people who suffer badly etc etc but it all seems a bit new to me, almost fashionable. 'I'm bored of being veggie, I'll be a coeliac', I know that's a bit harsh but a lot of people think that but just won't bloody well say it!

JAugust 11th 2009.

Best in Manchester....no...the best in England!!!!!!!!

LeahMancAugust 11th 2009.

I've wandered past here a few times recently and thought it looked like a Croma/Pizza Express copy, not been tempted enough to go in though... maybe won't bother now!

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

All of a sudden, there's an awful lot of positive comments about this place, one after the other..........??

sun dried tomatoAugust 11th 2009.

I've been to dough quite few times and i totally disagree: really like the pizza as does everyone i know thats been there, true we don't do high end dining to compare it with but its tastier than croma and pizza express, also its wonderful that everyone i know (vegans included) seemss to like it. you've inspired me to pop in for tea tonight.

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

I live just up the street from Dough and would love to visit more often but was put off by a disappointing first visit and haven't returned. I had garlic prawns for starter which were tiny and really salty, and my main course pizza wan't great. My boyfriend had the lamb pizza, whcih was a bit like a hunter's kebab but not as nice! I think until it improves I would rather walk the extra distance to Croma as you are always guaranteed a great experience there, which is a shame as I am keen to support local businesses

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

Manchester Food & Drink nominee???? Are you kidding me?! Bland, bland, bland. Service was non exsistent & food below parr. The most forgettable pizza in Manchester. It's Croma every time - the original innovators of the pizza in Manchester - always a pleasure.

disappointedAugust 11th 2009.

Totally agree.. went for lunch on Friday and was the first time ever I couldn't finish a pizza.. it was very very dry - mozerella in big congealed chunks and the pizza base tasted exactly like the ones you buy in a packet from Sainsbury's. Great staff and location and like the bar, shame about the food...

JanineAugust 11th 2009.

My boyfriend and I went last night. I had high hopes from all the people who had raved about it. The wine was great (Rose), the starters were great (garlic dough sticks and mozarella and tomato salad), but my main course (Penne alla Vodka) had so much chilli in it I couldn't taste anything else (the menu had said 'a hint of chilli'. This was NOT a hint). My boyfriend's pizza had unusual toppings - including a stray piece of bacon from someone else's pizza! Can't fault the staff - they were very nice, and the decor was clean and stylish - no complaints there, but the food needs a revamp.

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

service is cr@p too, had to pre-order as we were in a group of 10+ and they still messed up the order... and the garlic "dough sticks" not a patch on the competition at pizza express / croma

AdeleAugust 11th 2009.

Dough? 'Doh' more like. Am so glad this place has been reviewed and that I'm not the only one who thinks it doesn't cut the mustard. Went one Sunday afternoon, the staff were friendly enough when we got their attention, but were studenty types more interested in having a laugh with each other than what customers were up to. The pizzas were just bobbins, if I called my restaurant 'steak' I'd have to be pretty confident I could cook a steak, to call yourself 'dough' and get the fundamentals of a pizza, a pizza for goodness sake, not complex Michelin star stuff, wrong, is pretty poor. The location is not a licence to print money. They will have to up the ante if they want to stay in business. Croma is far superior and got it's business model right and gets my vote every time.

JAugust 11th 2009.

Lee, I was more worried about the use of 'best', 'in' and 'Engand'!!

mollyAugust 11th 2009.

I'm pretty surprised about this slating. I've been to dough 3 times and thought it was scrummy, once wason a work do (with a huge variety of very fussy eaters: all seemed satisfied). Yes, the menu is a bit unadventourous but its a pizza joint - cheap and friendly and bloody brilliant if you have special dietary requirements; that shouldnt be unusual but its really hard to find somewhere that pleases vegans, celiacs and omnis. I tried the vegan pizza last time i was there; it was gorgeous much to my surprise. dour and worthy is somewhere like earth. Bland and boring and up itself in terms of service is croma. I am not a great high end gourmet food expert (seems most confidential reviews are for places way out of my pocket) but i have had a lot of pizza (lived in brooklyn and rome) and dough might not be the best in the world but its far and away the best in manchester. according to a mate from nyc who visited last week its contender for the best in england. No, before you say i dont work for dough, or anywhere else, but i do wonder if any other commentators have vested interests in slagging competitors off. i really like dough as do all those i know who have been there.

J L KeeneAugust 11th 2009.

The writer's being ironic about the Best Newcomer award. He's saying the daft food health bollocks thing is just a waste of time that nobody would cares about. I think. I agree.

ancoats girlAugust 11th 2009.

POP - too bloody picky? Anyone who is going to spend the better part of the cost of a weekly shop *should* be picky. Restaurants need to give us a good reason to spend our (increasingly shrinking) disposable income. Two people can't really eat out for much less than £30-£40 these days if you have wine. I resent wasting my money and going away thinking: "I could have made a much better meal at home." Places like Dough have made us less inclined to try new places because you just can't trust that you're going to get a good meal, even if it looks like it should be a lovely restaurant.

Ignorant OmnivoreAugust 11th 2009.

Coeliac? Is that a type of seafood? Is your husband a whelk?

CasAugust 11th 2009.

Perhaps we shouldn't knock Dough, if it keeps all the food allergy sufferers in one place and not bothering other restaurants then that has to be a good thing!

ChickAugust 11th 2009.

compassionate person; would you care to point out where there are, "too many cases of chicken in veggie dishes"? Cas is not being selfish nor ignorant, as both a restaurateur and someone who loves food and loves eating, I can say in all honesty that veggies/vegans/food-intolerant folk are the most demanding and difficult to please. Sorry if that offends, but it's true. I served a customer a couple of weeks ago who, on arriving at the restaurant, went to great lengths to tell me all about their wheat/lactose/nut allergies etc., and then decided to order the one dish on the menu that contained wheat, dairy and nuts. She said she was just 'a little bit intolerant' so it would be OK. So I assumed it would be "OK" if she died at the first mouthful. You either have a genuine allergy or you don't. As for ethical principles, don't pap on about veal and foie gras whilst hand-bagging the queue for a £2 chicken at Morrisons

terry tibbsAugust 11th 2009.

i started working in restaurants 15 years ago and the rise in this allergy crap has been ridiculous. dough is poor - everything is done in the oven including the pasta and has the life cooked out of it. if u want to spend your money and have a decent meal then there is far greater choice in manchester.

ChickAugust 11th 2009.

Jinkies, I may be wrong too, but I don't know of any restaurant that would deliberately lie about the food being gluten-free. Cas, I like the idea!

Not impressedAugust 11th 2009.

I tried dough when it first opened and everything is so bland, no flavour to any of the pizzas. I tried it a few months on and still no change. I think the gluten free pizza is a great idea as i have a friend who takes his own bases when we eat at Pizza places. I wonder if the gluten free pizzas are as bland and boring as the rest of the pizza menu???

JAugust 11th 2009.

Unfortunately Ross, I am. That is the whole point of reviews and I would rather make my own pizza than waste my money on something I'll be disappointed with.

JAugust 11th 2009.

Sounds like the pizza's aren't up to much then... I've decided to make my own later, I bet my dough is much better!

emmaAugust 11th 2009.

I've only been to dough once, but do plan on going again! I suffer from coeliac (which is an intolerance to gluten) and am also vegan, and think its great to have a place I can go with any one and all of us be pleased! The food for me was good (not amazing) but i really enjoyed the night as the service was great, really friendly staff, and even though it was rather busy it had a great atmosphere which was 'buzzing' ! All the people I went with really enjoyed there food and have been back since! I think its really great thats there's some where offering such a range of foods for evey one to enjoy! It's well priced and worth a visit! Keep going Dough!! Well done!!

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

Bland, tasteless. Pizza dough base seems to be stale and not freshly made. Big NONO for a italian resterant. tomarto sauce featureless, very disappointing as it seemed to have so much potential.

Grateful for ChoiceAugust 11th 2009.

Agree with Lucky Stoat and Compassionate Person wholeheartedly. As a vegan it is so refreshing to be able to order directly from a menu. I've lost count of the times I've been made to feel I'm being "a pain" by simply asking for ingredients to be taken off menu items, and then spent the whole meal convinced the chef has added "extras" to my food as a bizarre punishment for my beliefs. I've eaten here once and it was wonderful to be able to enjoy a meal with my omnivorous friends - minus the cruelty and cow secretions (at least not on my plate). I would go there more often if I wasn't feeling the pain of the pesky credit crunch, but in the meantime am settling for take-away pizza, sans cheese. Now all we need is for Dough to start a reasonable delivery service for the grateful vegans and coeliacs - heaven!

AnonymousAugust 11th 2009.

I agree! We have been to Dough 3 times and really want to like it.. it just doesn't match Croma. the garlic prawns when we went last were tough and small and there were only 4!!! Pizzas ok and service is up and down... stick to Croma.

sproutAugust 11th 2009.

"diary free pizza's" eh? I'm pretty much diary free myself these days (or at least, paper diary free). I may actually treat myself to a nice 2010 Moleskine next time I'm in Pizza Hut.

thebirdisthewordAugust 11th 2009.

Couldn’t agree more… so surprised by the amount of people who seem to rate this place. I’ve tried Dough twice now and the main failing I thought was the dough itself - both times I’ve eaten a pizza with a thick, chewy and partly undercooked base. That along with the lack of atmosphere and uninspiring menu…can’t believe this place is up for a Manchester Food and Drink Festival Award

StephAugust 11th 2009.

I visited Dough for the first time last night and had a great meal. I made the arrangements to go the day before this article came out and very nearly went elsewhere - I'm so glad my friend and I decided to make our own minds up because I will definitely be going back - lovely food, great service and a good atmosphere. And yes, I am coeliac so I am perhaps a little biased by my delight in eating a pizza for the first time in years, but I am dismayed by the suggestion that most food allergies/intolerances are made up. Maybe some are, but mine certainly is not, and I will always explain to restaurant staff that I'm easy to please subject to my restrictions, and do not expect any more than having safe dishes pointed out to me on the menu so I'm not ill for days afterwards.

lucky stoatAugust 11th 2009.

i love dough - the sun dried tomato and aubergine dairy free pizza is my favourite - its anything but bland. a great place for a cheap and cheerful relaxed night, as do the various friends and colleagues i've been there with. true as steve says the pizza can be idiosyncratic but i for one find that charming; shows its made by real people - and its never been anything less than yummy.

John in HulmeAugust 11th 2009.

First visit: average to poor foodSecond visit: average lunch. Bored service.Last chance: Fri night at 2130 in January. Told a 45 min wait for a table despite them not opening donwstairs dining area.Wanted to like Dough. Will stick to Croma, thanks.Apotheca is lovely though.

JinkiesAugust 11th 2009.

Not if you were listening to bbc R4 yesterday. Very interesting article about the unsustainable nature of our eating habits and how foods such as Tiger Prawns could vanish from menus sooner than we'd think.

HMLAugust 11th 2009.

Not sure how old some of the most recent rants are as didn't have time to keep up with it on the day. I would just like to point out that I agree with comments about food allergies becoming more prevalent but this, in general, is down to diagnosis. People have been being diagnosed with Coeliac disease since at least the 1940's and it is not a food allergy. It is in fact an Immune System disease. One of the reasons that I hardly eat out these days is due to some of the comments posted on here, such as I am being awkward or 'fashionable'. Believe me, I love my food and before diagnosis I used to try and eat EVERYTHING on a menu. One of the most upsetting aspects of Coeliacs is not being able to go out and just order what I fancy from a menu. A lot of restaurants refuse to serve Gluten Free food due to the ‘suing culture’ and my comment about staff staying something is gluten free tends to come down to ignorance. So just wanted to say thanks to some of the people above for compounding my view that most people are too ignorant to find out about my requirements and will just think that I am being fussy. Yet another reason to just eat at home…

lucky stoatAugust 11th 2009.

personally i dont usually bother posting comments - but was galvanized by all the negativity - perhaps other folks were too? Also, without wishing to restart an old debate i recall a poll here not so long ago that was pro tolerating veggies: very few places mancon reviews are good at catering for veggies or people with dietary issues and i suspect there may be others rallying to support somewhere that does so so well.

Anthony WrightNovember 14th 2010.

loved dough!!! went with my girlfriend before the pictures,good service and very good price...LOVELY PLACE!!!

GoodfoodfolkApril 23rd 2012.

Dough is great if you're vegan and fancy an Italian! Good value, high quality pizzas (avoid the Cornerhouse, worst vegan pizza experience EVER - 5 spinich leaves, 4 slices of potato and a few slithers of undercooked onion?), plus the staff are attentive, but not pushy. I did suggest they maybe serve a slightly smaller pizza or get bigger plates though! Always busy with a lively atmosphere, Dough feels homely, but still a little bit of a treat.

Dan O'tooleApril 23rd 2012.

The only place (restaurant) that I know of to offer gluten and vegan free pizzas in Manchester. Be great if others could follow suit...

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