Another season brings another menu to Pizza Express and with a visit from Modern Mummy and her gang coinciding with the new spring and summer delights how could we resist a visit?! They are, after all, our Pizza Express buddies and rarely do we have a rendesvous without a trip to our fave restaurant.
Together we’ve been all over visiting different ones but last night took us to one of my families fave venues on St Benedicts in Norwich. It’s a classy little street with lots of independent eateries and bars but Pizza Express, despite being a chain, fits in perfectly. That tells me a lot!
In fact I know many friends who are chain restaurant snobs and wouldn’t entertain the idea of entering one yet they are ALL Pizza Express fans making it their one exception. I think, on the whole, pretty much everyone loves Pizza Express and it’s easy to understand why because it’s always great food in interesting and unusual (each restaurant is different) settings with a price that fits most purses. The other very important thing for families is that they are so child friendly and that’s not just because their Piccolo menu is an inexpensive £6.95 offering a starter, main and desert which is worthy of an adult taste bud, but because they fully embrace children and care about their whole experience. I have never been to a Pizza Express where the staff haven’t addressed the children directly when asking what they would like to eat, I have often been where they have asked the kids up to help make their own desert or invited them to come and watch the chefs at work and with the kids pack to keep them busy at the table too it’s a restaurant experience where Mums and Dads can breathe. I LOVE this!
Now, there was no alcohol in our little party last week because we were either driving and or pregnant so… I can’t tell you what the new Hugo St. Germain (Prosecco over ice with an elderflower liqueur – damn it sounds good) or the Gin Spritz is like, but I CAN tell you the new cucumber and mint presse is DELICIOUS! Just what you need on a hot and balmy summer’s day and the perfect palate cleanser… I couldn’t get enough of this and ordered two – one for me and one for the baby (well, that’s only fair)!
The big girls wanted to order from the grown up menu, they are too old for kid’s menus now apparently (they’re not but we indulged them) yet they were both very insistent this didn’t mean they were willing to give up the bambinoccino at the end of the meal – it seems the warm frothy milk spans all age groups and isn’t babyish AT ALL. But the little ones stuck to what they know and love. A starter of dough balls with that amazing garlic butter (HOW can I not make it taste as good at home?) and followed up with la Rein pizzas on a smaller scale before finishing with a real fruit ice lolly and the all important frothy milk! I was surprised that Jimmy went for a lolly but lolly he did and he LOVED it!
To start we had more of the yummy dough balls (which were particularly good it has to be said, softly cooked to perfection) and the new Cod Crochette which is a creamy smoked cod with mozzarella and a red jalapeño kick, rolled in breadcrumbs and baked until golden brown, served with rocket, parsley and an anchovy mayonnaise – each portion gave three and they got a very positive response from us!
We followed the starters up with the new pizzas on the menu, the Zapparoli (Chicken, hot soft ‘nduja sausage, mozzarella, garlic oil and Gran Milano cheese on smoky, creamed corn, finished with red Roquito pearls and parsley) and the new recipe for the Margherita Bufala (Buffalo mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil, fresh tomato, garlic oil, and oregano, finished with fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil) as well as the fishy pasta dish which I couldn’t resist – Seafood Rigatoni (Salmon, Pollock & king prawns in a creamy white wine & garlic sauce, with rigatoni pasta, lemon and parsley) from the Al Forno menu!
Next up (if you can fit it in) is pud and while Katy wigged out entirely (rookie) and my husband let the side down by having a dolcetti (a coffee with a small desert), I knew I had to be the one who stepped up to the plate with a proper desert and the new lemon bunt cake seemed like a fabulous way to go. I am such a sucker for a chocolate pud and when Florence’s ordered the melt in the middle chocolate pudding (we don’t know how her and Daisy managed to pack it all away) I certainly felt a little jealous but I wanted to try something new so went ahead with my choice.
And now… Now I wouldn’t even consider something chocolately while this is on the menu! This was actually worth going to Pizza express for simply on its own and without any of the other delights which went before it. Unfortunately I had to give two bites to Katy and one to Jonny (yes I was counting) but next time I’m insisting everyone orders their own! It was WOW!
So… We can, once again, wholeheartedly recommend a visit for the new menu at Pizza Express… It’s made my mouth water revisiting this for my post, I can’t wait to go back. I am, however, on a bit of a health kick so this meal was a total treat (I believe life isn’t any fun without them) but it’s worth noting that you can totally eat and save on calories at Pizza Express as they have a lighter menu (even in the desert section) and to boot will cater for gluten and dairy allergies! Hand claps all round to Pizza Express – we will, I am sure, see you soon!
We were invited to try the new menu in return for an honest review.