Yummy Friends – 41311 – Heartlake Pizzeria

LEGO Friends (and to some extent also Elves) is/ are on some level (a) strange series, and I’m sure not just from a male perspective. The basic gist is that you always can literally feel that someone is pouring a lot of love into some of the details, but then it’s all messed up by forcing it into color schemes with really eye-popping colors and not in a good sense. It’s sometimes so over the top it may even put off the intended main target demographic, i.e. girls of a certain age.

Regardless of this I’ve been on the verge of buying one of the cheaper sets just for fun many times and that came true when I was able to pick up the Heartlake Pizzeria during an unexpected sale at a department store while I was on the road after one of my many medical appointments. It wasn’t quite as cheap as the lowest online price (around twenty Euros), but despite being on a tight budget I don’t mind spending two Euros extra when I can take the package home right away.

LEGO Friends, Heartlake Pizzeria (41311), Box

As should be evident from the pictures I picked this set because it looks reasonably “neutral”. Yet at the same time LEGO still kinda ruined it and quite unnecessarily so. Yes, of course I’m talking about the Medium Lavender plates and the Dark Pink elements. They could totally have gone with Dark Tan and White and would have been all the better for it.

LEGO Friends, Heartlake Pizzeria (41311), Overview

The model itself follows the typical Friends pattern and is more or less just a facade while pretty much everything else is an open space where you are supposed to play-act with your mini dolls. This set (aside from some bigger ones) is one of those containing a male protagonist as well as a female, so I guess that counts as “gender-balanced”.

The real play value is limited, though, despite a set of dishes and cutlery being thrown in and an extra vehicle. I generally find that one of the biggest issues with many Friends sets – they look nice, but the details are often too small and finicky to really play with them or the carpet monster will eat all those 1×1 round plates, flowers or ice cone tops when they inadvertently come off.

LEGO Friends, Heartlake Pizzeria (41311), Scooter

The delivery scooter is of course inspired by the Piaggio three wheelers and similar vehicles and will also look good next to your City or Modular Buildings models. You just might want to change some of the colors and add details like an actual steering horn/ wheel and a driver seat.

LEGO Friends, Heartlake Pizzeria (41311), Front Side

Construction of the actual building is quick and straightforward. There are only a handful of large bricks, some arches, a bunch of slopes plus some extra details that can be chucked together in under half an hour. Unfortunately as a result of this stability isn’t that great. The pizza oven almost always comes off when handling the model and it’s way to easy to break off the top floor wall, too. I would wager that even some other Friends sets are a bit more robust.

It would also have been easy here by adding some more arches and bricks and integrating them as additional side walls or supports in the back section. The set totally makes no use of the potential of its square floor. You could then even have had the oven be built integrally with the wall.

LEGO Friends, Heartlake Pizzeria (41311), Back Side

While I won’t say that I’m disappointed – I knew what I was getting into – this set still falls short in that it would have been super simple to make it better. It wouldn’t have required any major design effort to just repeat the principles and patterns applied to the existing walls to extend them and those few extra bricks would not have increased cost considerably. With some more parts and by buying two or three sets you could have had a nice basis for a small custom trattoria (not counting the lavender plates of course), but as it is you would need way too many extra parts to really turn it into something…