IS there anything in life more satisfying than winding down after a hard day at work than with a drink with friends in the pub?
It is one of those things up there with settling down in front of the telly with a takeaway, splashing the cash on an exciting new bit of gadgetry or celebrating a last-gasp win by your favourite football team (which, when you’re a Doncaster Rovers fan hasn’t been too often in recent months).
And Missoula is one such pub where you can do just that.
If the name is unfamiliar to you then bear with me. It is one of those places that seems to have a ten a penny name change every few months. Not so long ago, it was Abenaki. Before that it was Edwards. And before that it was a branch of Barclays Bank. But I digress.
It is now called Missoula (which is actually a city in Montana in the USA if you were wondering, but you probably weren’t) and it is situated bang among the hot spots on the Silver Street/Hall Gate night time crawl.
But if you get in early enough midweek before the hordes arrive, its the perfect place for a quiet drink after work and also a bite to eat - which is the reason yours truly and pals popped in the other week.
Staff were busying themselves for an American themed hoe down event - lumberjack shirts, a rodeo bull and yee-has aplenty - and the menu indeed has its roots planted firmly within the good old traditions of the USA with sharing starters such as popcorn chicken with a cajun mayo dip and nachos and then sandwiches with fillings such as BLT or a BBQ chicken, cheese and bacon melt.
But to suggest its all Yankee doodle dandy would do Missoula a disservice. The menu contains dishes from around the globe - from English classics such as steak pie, a mixed grill and fish and chips, Asian fare such as Chicken Balti with even a taste of Mexico thrown in courtesy of chicken burritos.
But it was to Italy we headed - and the pizza menu - perhaps the ideal after work sharing food that hits the spot when you want something quick and easy.
The menu serves up ten different, stone baked 12” pizzas, each topped with Missoula’s own tomato sauce - and in some cases an usual array of toppings.
Take for instance China Town - duck, hoi sin sauce and spring onion and the ranch and onion ring stack which is bacon, pepperoni and jalapenos served with a stack of ten onion rings.
I opted for something a little more traditional though but still with a contemporary twist - the Alabama, sweet chilli chicken breast strips served up on a crisp base and dished up with a pile of fresh rocket leaves.
The key to a good pizza is whether you can pick it up and eat with your fingers without suffering from the wilt factor - and Missoula’s offerings passed the test with flying colours. Crisp and no skimping on the toppings, each slice was guzzled down mess free.
The chicken was tender and tasty - and the sweet chilli sauce helped deliver a satisfyingly spicy kick.
Don’t miss a pizza the action at Missoula!
n Darren Burke