Pizza Express is popular chain amongst many of the parents I know. It has always served as a great place to meet up over half term and other holidays for a lunch with our little ones to catch up. It’s well known amongst the school mummies more so recently as we have been invited to a few pizza making birthday parties over the last year or so which were great fun for the kiddies and us mums. Normally when we go to these parties the mums stay in the main restaurant whilst the kids are whisked of to have fun making their own pizzas in another room. Us mums would sit and relax and have a chat whilst nibbling on a slice or two of pizza. I signed up to the Pizza Express emails a while back so that I would hear about new menus and offers so I was excited when I heard there was a new Summer menu. I love going out for meal and this was the perfect excuse to go out and try something new. This time I went with my family including hubby and my 2 daughters in tow. Mr Squishy was left behind at a relatives as he has an extremely short attention span and likes to try and run around which means we don’t get to enjoy the whole experience as much.
The Summer menu is nice and varied with a range of pizzas, salads and oven baked dishes. There are also gluten free options including risotto, pizzas, dough balls sorbets and even a pilsner.
I was indecisive (as always) but eventually managed to knock down my options to one dish. My children ordered off the Piccolo menu which includes dough balls and side salad, pizza or pasta, a dessert and a bambinoccino, all for only £6.95!
My husband and I decided to get a starter to share. Whilst we waited the children were given activity sheets and stickers to keep them entertained which is always great!
The children’s starter was a great size and is great for boosting their 5 a day count. The girls gobbled it down and went back to their activity sheets.
Classic Italian Antipasto
Italian meats: Finnochiona, Coppa, Milano salami and Calabrese sausage D.O.P, with olives, artichoke, roasted tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, sweet Peppadew peppers and dough baked with Gran Milano cheese, accompanied by garlic butter and pestorissa, a harissa spiced tomato dip.
This was nicely presented and a good size. It’s one of those dishes that has a lovely variety of items included which I love and everything was rich in flavour and great quality from the tasty salamis to the sundried tomatoes. War almost broke out of the harissa spiced tomato dip which was made with sundried tomatoes to give it a gorgeous rich and delicious flavour. This had a lovely kick to it too but wasn’t to hot. The bread went well with this as did the garlic butter – glad we both ate some of that or hubby would have complained I smelt of garlic. The fresh rocket was very welcome and the peppers were great adding a good texture and flavour contrast with their crunch, tangyness and mild heat. The meats were all lovely, my favourite was the chorizo which was found hidden beneath the rest as was really rich in flavour.
American / Pepperoni
A classic and favourite with many children including my youngest daughter. The portion size was just right considering there was a starter and dessert included. She really enjoyed her pizza and wasn’t quite able to eat the whole thing indicating the portion was more than enough.
My eldest daughter had this and although she had expected spaghetti not penne she was still happy and it wasn’t surprising to see why. I tasted the meat sauce to get an idea of the flavour and it was packed full of meat and sun ripened and sundried tomatoes. You couldn’t fault it. I was pleased that it had not been overlooked as just a child’s meal it was a great recipe.
Prosciutto cotto, black olives, closed cup mushroom, mozzarella and tomato.
My husband asked for this but on a Romana base (thin) and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought he would make it through the whole pizza but he stopped after about 4/5 to allow space for dessert. This was yummy, packed full of flavour and lacking nothing.
Soho 65 V
Mozzarella and tomato with black olives, buffalo mozzarella and garlic oil, finished with rocket, shaved Gran Milano cheese and extra virgin olive oil.
I had been asked if I wanted hams / meats on this but I declined as I quite fancied trying it as it was. The meats are an option on the menu for a small charge. The pizza was delicious, the base was nice and thin which I liked. This pizza was on a Romana base inspired by those from Rome where the base is stretched to give the toppings flavours centre stage and that they did just that. The tomato gave a gorgeous richness where as the cheese brought its own creamy deliciousness, the olives a lovely saltiness and the fresh rocket a peppery freshness. The flavours combined well and none were overpowering. I was really failing the team with this as the starter was quite filling so I ate 1/4, the rest was packaged up for us to take home.
A classic brownie recipe made with gluten-free flour, topped with fresh strawberry and icing sugar. (Gluten free and vegetarian).
My eldest asked for the brownie and her sister oddly said she was full although that didn’t last for long. The second her sisters brownie arrived miraculously space had appeared in her tummy and she really really really wanted one. Off she went to find our server to as for a brownie and when it arrived she tucked in happily eating every single crumb. Clearly they both enjoyed the brownies as not a word was muttered whilst they ate – a pleasant treat for me and my husband as generally the youngest doesn’t stop talking from the moment she rises to the moment she falls asleep. The brownie was rich, gooey and chocolatey as one might expect. The almost spotless plate indicated how much the children enjoyed their dessert. This was washed down with the bambinoccino (Frothed milk with a sprinkle of chocolate powder).
My husband had the raspberry sorbet and I thought I would be adventurous and try one of the new Summer desserts the Summer tiramisu.
This was gorgeous. It was light, tangy and extremely refreshing. The prefect palette cleanser for end of a meal. I plan to go back to grab one of these for myself.
Light and fruity twist to the original dessert. Layers of ladyfingers soaked in Vin Santo wine, mascarpone cream and sweet strawberry puree, served with strawberry and mint.
This was an interesting adaptation of the traditional coffee dessert. It was light, sweet, creamy and not overpowering, a great Summery dish. The strawberry puree works well. This was a little like a strawberry trifle that I make at home sometimes.
Our server was great he was friendly, good with the children and very helpful.
Overall I was pleased with the meal as was the rest of the family. In fact it was best meal I had eaten at a Pizza Express. I know we will be going back again for meals over the Summer. The portion sizes are good and what’s just as wonderful is that if you have a tastecard you can get a buy one get one free deal.
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We were invited to a branch of Pizza Express to try out their Summer menu. All views are our own as always.