Hello Spring At Pizza Express!

Ever the Pizza Express fans and it’s never a chore to write about our experiences of dining in them. We visit them a lot and I can’t help, whether invited to or not, but write about when we have had a really good meal (as we so very often do) whether I have been invited to for the blog or we have just been because we chose to. Jonny actually pointed out that he can’t remember the last time he had a bad experience in one and when you dine out with a 2 year old believe me, that’s quite something for it is not only the food which contributes to a fabulous meal out but when a family, it’s also how happy the children are! Pizza Express have hit the nail very firmly on the head when it comes to keeping the little ones happy and that for me is worth it’s weight in gold, the fact their adult menu is really rather good is simply a bonus!

And talking of their menu, it’s Spring and a big hello to their all new menu which not only welcomes a new season of flavours but also gives a nod to nostalgia because guess what? Pizza Express have just turned 50. Yes FIFTY! And incorporated on their latest collection is the Romana 65 selection of Pizzas which hark back to the start of their career as the number one pizzaiolos!

Hello spring at Pizza express!
Hello spring at Pizza express!

We went to the one in Norwich on St Benedicts Street, it’s one of my all time favourite Pizza Expresses along with the one is Eastbourne and the one in Greenwich. They’re all really different while still being very definitely Pizza Expresses and I love this venue because of the style of the building. The staff are always really pleasant too and although we were there for review on this particular trip, the time we visited last for Florence’s birthday we were not yet there was absolutely no difference in how attentive our waiters and waitresses were and the standard of food was exactly the same. I usually, with the exception of one visit, find the staff in Pizza Express to be super friendly and helpful, one guy when we rang up and booked whilst on holiday once even rang me back after he’d gone outside to find me a road which wasn’t permit parking – now THAT’s helpful!

So, onto the new menu… What’s to love? Well, for us, absolutely loads of fresh spring favourites and a couple of things I have very firmly planted on my ‘must have’ list to add to our ever growing bill… I fell totally in love with La Regina, a ham hock sphisticated twist on the classic La Reine, the new sharing starter of Fresella and also, something which is not new to this particular menu but the last, the ‘oh my word it’s good’ broccolini! Here’s what we had and enjoyed, nothing went to waste and everything was thoroughly perfect! One thing that we would change a touch? Hmmm, well it’d have to be the fact they’ve removed the garlic butter past from the children’s menu because it has long been a favourite with my two but despite it not being on the Piccolo selection, which is my children’s dining out menu of choice and superbly well thought out, they made it for Florence anyway so you can’t ask for more than that!

We started with the new Olives marinate which are garlicy and include pink peppercorns. of course the children tucked right in and we got left with, well, not many but what we did have were delicious! We also tried (and failed to fight Jimmy for them) the new Noci whichis a selection of cashews, almonds and crispy coated chick peas! The chick peas were, as Jimmy will tell you, very moorish!
We started with the new Olives marinate which are garlicy and include pink peppercorns. of course the children tucked right in and we got left with, well, not many but what we did have were delicious! We also tried (and failed to fight Jimmy for them) the new Noci whichis a selection of cashews, almonds and crispy coated chick peas! The chick peas were, as Jimmy will tell you, very moorish!
Our starters were delicious, the children's dough balls were as they love them with a side salad and lashings of garlic butter while Jonny and I enjoyed the new Fresella to share. A ring of dough with mozzarella, chopped tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and rocket. I also asked for some garlic butter and dipped my dough in just like a dough ball! I got all the dough ball-ness with a slight sophistication and some yummy extras! My Mum had Melanzanine, an al forno aubergine dish and she said it was utterly delicious - I love aubergine, so tasty and yet so good for you!
Our starters were delicious, the children’s dough balls were as they love them with a side salad and lashings of garlic butter while Jonny and I enjoyed the new Fresella to share. A ring of dough with mozzarella, chopped tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and rocket. I also asked for some garlic butter and dipped my dough in just like a dough ball! I got all the dough ball-ness with a slight sophistication and some yummy extras! My Mum had Melanzanine, an al forno aubergine dish and she said it was utterly delicious – I love aubergine, so tasty and yet so good for you!
The children don't like to stray too far from their comfort zone and when you've been to Pizza express as many times as they have you certainly know what you like. La Reine for Jimmy WITHOUT the mushrooms and Florence's 'off menu' garlic butter pasta! They were as pleased as ever!
The children don’t like to stray too far from their comfort zone and when you’ve been to Pizza express as many times as they have you certainly know what you like. La Reine for Jimmy WITHOUT the mushrooms and Florence’s ‘off menu’ garlic butter pasta! They were as pleased as ever!
For the grown ups and we went La Regina, that twist on the classic la reine with a bechemal sauce base (I've always been a bit annoyed with Pizza express for removing the Monte Bianco which had bechemal sauce so this was clearly going to be a new favourite of mine)! I had the Pollo salad with pancetta on the recommendation of my waiter who said it is the classic salad! It's new to this menu but I seem to remember something similar from years ago and I loved it! It comes with dough sticks, crutons and the most creamy goat's cheese, it was definitely a WOW salad. My Mum went for the classic lasagne, like the children she doesn't like to stray from her favourite choices and she says that the Pizza Express lasagne is the best lasagne she's ever eaten and that's the reason why!
For the grown ups and we went La Regina, that twist on the classic la reine with a bechemal sauce base (I’ve always been a bit annoyed with Pizza express for removing the Monte Bianco which had bechemal sauce so this was clearly going to be a new favourite of mine)! I had the Pollo salad with pancetta on the recommendation of my waiter who said it is the classic salad! It’s new to this menu but I seem to remember something similar from years ago and I loved it! It comes with dough sticks, crutons and the most creamy goat’s cheese, it was definitely a WOW salad. My Mum went for the classic lasagne, like the children she doesn’t like to stray from her favourite choices and she says that the Pizza Express lasagne is the best lasagne she’s ever eaten and that’s the reason why!
THIS might have captured my foodie heart for the meal - Broccolini which is steamed brocoli, chilli flakes and garlic with Gran Milano cheese... Could eat this and this alone as my meal I assure you!
THIS might have captured my foodie heart for the meal – Broccolini which is steamed brocoli, chilli flakes and garlic with Gran Milano cheese… Could eat this and this alone as my meal I assure you!
You might think we'd be too stuffed for desert but we're no lily livers so we got right in there! Jonny had a Dolcetti whichis a mini desert (wimp) and comes with coffee or tea while my Mum and I split the new Tiramisu and honeycomb cream slice. Wowsers they were good! Especially that honeycombe! Seriously needs to be tried!
You might think we’d be too stuffed for desert but we’re no lily livers so we got right in there! Jonny had a Dolcetti whichis a mini desert (wimp) and comes with coffee or tea while my Mum and I split the new Tiramisu and honeycomb cream slice. Wowsers they were good! Especially that honeycombe! Seriously needs to be tried!
The children had what they always have which is ice cream and the bambinoccino which comes with the Picollo menu! THIS is the reason they choose Pizza express for their special treats because THIS desert makes them feel like a grown up!
The children had what they always have which is ice cream and the bambinoccino which comes with the Picollo menu! THIS is the reason they choose Pizza express for their special treats because THIS desert makes them feel like a grown up!

The Picollo menu is well priced with dough balls, a side salad, a main, desert and bambinoccino all for £6.50. As well as this they bring an activity sheet which is also the actual menu, stickers and a chef’s hat. They kind of just know the right level of entertainment without being tacky and package it all up in something really fun and interesting for the children. They don’t forget about them when it comes to the food either and everything is an absolute treat just as it should be! I’m a firm believer that if you’re dining out then it should be a wonderful experience with something yummy for everyone, not just the parents and Pizza express get that!

We had a divine meal with them yet again, in lovely surroundings with a lovely vibrant atmosphere where children are welcomed with open arms. The new menu brought delicious surprises and really put a spring in our step as I’m sure it was intended. I drank moscato which is my favourite ‘of dry’ white wine at Pizza Express and we all came away feeling like we’d had a jolly good family event. A meal out should be about fun, frivolity and really good food and this meal was all of those things. With a family things really shouldn’t break the bank either and although we didn’t pay for this meal I was given a copy of the bill and I’d have been more than happy to pay the value. We were 3 adults and 2 children eating starters, mains, sides and deserts with wine and coffee and the bill would have been just shy of £125, I don’t think that’s bad value at all and you have to remember that Pizza Express have offers and discounts practically every day if you check their website for the deal of the moment and this would make it even less expensive.

I finished my meal with a Limoncello which is always how I like to end a meal at Pizza express - yum!
I finished my meal with a Limoncello which is always how I like to end a meal at Pizza express – yum!