We go to Pizza Express fairly frequently because it’s a great restaurant for the whole family. Great food, vibrant atmosphere (which usually hides a multitude of children sins) and you can pretty much guarantee everyone will be happy. We go so often that yes there is occasionally a mistake here and there (probably only noted by me because I am so famliar with how it ‘should be’) but 9 times out of 10, things are perfect.
The children love it and actually eat the food which is the main thing but I love it too. You might think when it’s the restaurant we always defer to that we’d be bored or it might have become common place but it never does. They change things up a lot with new menus, different children’s packs and everything always feels very, very fresh in terms of style. I never feel like it slips into complacency because it knows it’s doing alright, they’re always trying to improve. Mostly we love the changes although Florence has never been happy about them removing the garlic butter pasta from the Piccolo menu (they’re still happy to oblige and make it for her) and I do have to say that I curse the day the Monte Bianco was axed – best pizza EVER! For a while they still made that for me too but as ingredients changed and they no longer had the right things I had to make different choices. Don’t worry, there’s lots of other favourites I can still choose!
I think I might just have found my new ‘go to pizza’ on the latest menu too! Don’t get me wrong, if they brought the mighty Monte Bianco back then it’d all go out the window but for now, there’s very definitely a new fave on the block! The Autunno is stunning but I’ll get to that in a moment. We tried out the new menu at the weekend with my Mum and got to taste a fair few of the other newbies for Autumn/Winter 2015 as well as getting to enjoy some of our ‘must haves’ when in PE and the whole meal was fabulous. We went to South Woodford (a really interesting restaurant – love how they all are so different in character) which is our local and were served by Eleana who was so busy that she should have been forgetting things right left and centre but she didn’t drop the ball once. We had another great meal and looking back over my pictures just makes me want to go right back there now!
First we tried the new Noci which is a nibbling dish to enjoy while peusing the menu. It consists of spicy almonds and cashew nuts with sweet and crunchy caramelised chickpeas. We also have to have olives when we go as the children devour them and would say it wasn;t a proper visit without! We love the flavour they have from the pink peppercorns and garlic and you get a really good portion which is needed with my two!
We didn’t spend too long looking at the menu because half of it we knew we’d be ordering. Florence is a creature of habit when it comes to her menu and either goes for the La Reine (without mushrooms) or asks for that old pasta dish which isn’t on the menu anymore. Jimmy is a little more tricky and takes a while to decide but they both ALWAYS know they’re having dough balls with lashings of garlic butter. In the end Florence went for the pasta and Jimmy chose the American Pepperoni while my Mum and I went for starters of the new risotto and mushroom bruschetta (an old fave)!
The bruschetta is fabulously creamy and comes on a big floury mound of Pizza Express’s delicious dough. I’m a sucker for the dough and bechamel sauce is reason alone to eat anything. I wish I knew how they made theirs because it’s the best I’ve ever had – so creamy! My Mum chose new from the menu the Risotto Mio. It’s chestnut & closed cup mushrooms in a creamy white wine risotto with parsley, garlic oil and pine kernels, finished with Gran Milano cheese, fresh parsley and truffle oil. My Mum isn’t wild about garlic so they left the garlic oil from the dish but had a whole list of ingredients for every dish that they let my Mum look at as there was also more garlic in it. She doesn’t mind a little bit so opted to go for it and she really enjoyed her starter. It can also be ordered as a main course which after a little taster of my Mum’s I might have to go for next time!
And then it was onto the main event! For me the new Autunno and a classic choice for my Mum while the children tucked into their pizza and pasta!
From over 60,000 entries to our Create Your New Favourite competition, Patricia Moroney’s winning pizza the Autunno is inspired by the colours of autumn. Chorizo, goat’s cheese, roasted butternut squash, spinach, garlic oil, chilli flakes, tomato and mozzarella, finished with chilli oil and fresh parsley. I was struggling to decide between the Autunno and the new Soho with Italian meats (which I will try next time maybe) but the goats cheese just tipped the scale for me on choice. It really is a special pizza and Id have it again and again and again!
My Mum went for Lasagna Classica (which she generally does it has to be said) and of course she enjoyed it as always. She says there’s somethign a little bit different about this lasagna, a little bit more special than others. I bet it’s that bechamel sauce you know!
To go with the pizzas we ordered two sides which were largely eaten by the children. We did get a small taster however and the new potato Nicciola are delicious! Perfect for a little side to share with the table but I could imagine a portion of them as total comfort food mid shopping trip in the winter. You could pop into a Pizza Express for a warm drink some of these to recharge your batteries!
And then it was onto desert. I realise that by rights we shouldn’t have been able to fit any more in but we forced ourselves because we’re slefless like that! 😉 For my two it’s all about the bambinoccino that comes with a child’s desert. They love the ice cream of course (they always go for the sundae these days) but really and truly it’s the frothy warm milk in a tiny cup which makes them feel really special and like grown ups. They often order a second one and this visit was no exception.
I tried something new and my Mum went for another Pizza Express staple in the Tiramisu!
The Bombolini are warm Italian-style miniature doughnuts filled with strawberry jam, served with creamy vanilla gelato and finished with icing sugar and fresh mint. I really wanted to try the Salted Caramel Profiterolesfrom the Dolcetti menu (a smaller offering with a coffee just to hit the sweet tooth but not over do it) but it seems I couldn’t resist a big desert this time and I’m so glad because it was super yummy. I did share a bit with the children though it has to be said but polished off most of it myself. Soft, gooey doughnuts with jam and ice cream (gelato) which is just the creamiest! Yum!
Pizza Express, I can assure you we are definitely planning a re-visit soon! I think we will HAVE to go over half term and try the Halloween dough balls now that we’ve seen you’re doing them – how cool! They will be in restaurants from 23rd october – 1st November 2015!
We were asked to review the new menu honestly.