Leith man’s petition gets his favourite pizza back on menu at national chain

Murray Robertson with a Rustichella at Pizza Express. Picture: Katielee Arrowsmith

Murray Robertson with a Rustichella at Pizza Express. Picture: Katielee Arrowsmith

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It’s the online petitions platform which has been used to free British prisoners held overseas, end the sale of eggs from battery farmed hens in supermarkets and force the removal of body-shaming billboards on the London Underground.

Change.org can claim to have caused several instances of social progress worldwide – but one Edinburgh man has managed to put it to good use towards an issue closer to his stomach.

Murray Robertson is taught by pizziaolos Nazir Ali how to make Rustichella at Pizza Express, The Shore, Leith, after he successfully petitioned to have it put back on to the menu

Murray Robertson is taught by pizziaolos Nazir Ali how to make Rustichella at Pizza Express, The Shore, Leith, after he successfully petitioned to have it put back on to the menu

Murray Robertson, from Leith, was dismayed to find his favourite pizza had been taken off the menu at his branch of Pizza Express at the Shore when he and girlfriend Brigid went for a meal to celebrate his 40th birthday in April.

Mr Robertson was so angry with the decision to stop serving the “Rustichella” pizza – which he describes as “a mouthwatering fusion of crispy pancetta, roasted tomatoes, rocket, grana padano and caesar dressing” – that he started a change.org campaign to put the pizza back on the menu across the UK.

However, he faced stiff competition from fans of the company’s “Etna” offering, leading to a 24-hour Twitter showdown in which fans of both toppings were asked to vote on which should return to the autumn menu.

The Rustichella won – claiming 58 per cent of the vote – with Murray saying he was “delighted” with the decision.

The writer for entertainment magazine The List admits that he started his petition “half-jokingly”, but says as time went on and more people signed, he started to believe something would happen.

“I tend to always feel slighted by companies and organisations, so I usually take to social media to have a moan about it,” he said.

“Brigid usually just rolls her eyes, but this time, after I started to see the reaction of people online, I thought actually, this might happen.

“There were a few moments where I thought Etna might take it, so I really stepped up my campaign and was contacting everyone I know to lend their support – thankfully it was successful.”

In addition to having his favourite pizza back on the menu for at least the next month, Murray was handed the opportunity to make his own Rustichella by bosses at the Shore venue, before being treated to a free meal by the restaurant.

“The chef was hugely accommodating and very patient with me; I don’t think I’ll ever make it in the kitchen,” Murray said.

A spokesperson from Pizza Express said: “As bravely fought as the battle between the Etna and the Rustichella was, I’m delighted Murray emerged victorious.”