Newest Review: ... had butternut squash risotto £5.45) and said his was lovely too. You can't go to Pizza Express without ordering pizza so being the predi... more
Big pizza, small pizza, pizza with a hole in it...
Member Name: magenta23
Advantages: Good food, good service
Disadvantages: A few duds on the menu, I found one. I'll stick to my favourite next time
I've been a fan of this chain for a while. We used to go to the one in Putney, then Kingston was our nearest and now they're popping up everywhere. I think we have 3 within a 6 mile radius! Not having been for a while after much squabbling myself and my partner decided on pizza for dinner the other night and visited the Walton on Thames branch of Pizza Express for our fix.
I like Pizza. Proper pizza, with a thin base and delicious flavoursome toppings, not the cheese on thick stody bread that seems to pass for it in a lot of places. The reason I used to love Pizza Express is because they did this well. I remember vagely from the last time we went however, the pizzas getting slightly smaller and thicker than the ones I remember when we used to visit the Putney one. I went hoping they hadn't gone down that route even more.
Looking at the menu things had changed a little. All the old favourites were there under 'Classic Pizzas'- Margerita, Four Seasons, Sloppy Giuseppe and Cappricosa (I always go for this!). In addition to the 'Classic Pizzas,' however there are now two other pizza 'categories' on offer, 'Romana Pizza' and 'Legerra Pizza'. 'Romana Pizza' was the type of pizza I remember having when we first started going to this chain. The menu describes these pizzas as "Our Romana bases are stretched thinner, making your pizza bigger and crispier, so the bold flavours stand out." I also noticed that they offered all classic pizzas on a Romana base for an extra £1.20. As most of the classic pizzas are priced £8-£9 anyway that taking you over the £10 mark for your pizza. I thought Pizza Express were a little more competative than this, though I guess prices have gone up everywhere. The 'Legerra Pizza' is aimed at the calorie counters. They are basically a pizza with a whole in the middle where salad leaves fill the gap. They claim that 'Leggera Pizzas' contain no more than 700 calories. Of course you aren't getting a low fat pizza, just less pizza and these will cost you the same as a 'Classic'. In addition to pizza, the restaurant also offers a good range of salads and pastas.
As I mentioned I always go for the 'Cappricosa,' a pizza with all my favourites- anchovies, capers olives and egg. I decided I had to go for something different and opted for a 'Romana Pizza' - 'Campo de'Fiori.' This was quite a simple pizza, topped with artichokes, black olives, parsley and onions. Being me, I asked for extra anchovies because I love them. (I can hear many of you gagging at the thought!) I have to say Pizza Express have always being good at adding or taking away from the precious recipes at the customers request. My partner once asked for a mushroom pizza without the mushrooms just because he wanted the cream base. They did it too! This time saving my humiliation, he went for the Classic 'Sloppy Giuseppe,' which is a hot spicy beef topping.
He loved his pizza and wolfed it down happily, I was less impressed with mine. The anchovies I added were barely there and the artichoke hearts were nice, but overall a little bland. If 'Romana Pizza' is supposedly got the bigger flavours I'm glad I didn't choose to have this on a classic base.
Puddings have always been good here and continue to be. If you've just had a 'Leggera Pizza' be ready to spend all those calories you saved! Tiramisu, Banoffee Pie and various flavours of Italian Ice Cream all looked tempting. I settled on the most chocolatey thing I could find, the 'Chocolate Glory' and my man had a 'Lemon Tart!'
'Chocolate Glory' consists of ice cream topped with whopping big bits of chocolate fudge cake drizzled in chocolate sauce. Diet given up for the night I dived in an it was scrummy. They even let you add your favourite liquer if you like. I stopped short of that. I shouldn't have looked at the Pizza Express website, but I did. It gives you all the nutritional information and my 'Chocolate Glory' contained 727 calories! I'm fine with that as it tasted like more! My partner said his 'Lemon Tart' was scrummy and 'only' contained 490 calories. I'm not looking at the website any more, it's good that information is there but I think meals out should be a 'night off worrying' and I don't want to know how much my whole meal put on around my waist.
The bill came to a reasonable £40 for two, with drinks and service. All the restaurant are kitted out more or less the same. Modern, stylish but with a comfortable atmosphere. I was happy to pay a service charge, because as always the staff were polite and helpful. The kitchen can be viewed from the seating area, which I always think is a nice touch in restaurants to see your food being prepared, and if nothing else, reassuring!
Overall, Pizza Express has changed with the times. It's passion for Italian Food has stayed but it is also trying to please everyone, and I guess you can't blame them. It's a business after all.
Summary: Something for everyone