I’ve always loved Pizza Express, with the Bruschetta Originale being my favourite. Anytime I visit Pizza Express, it is something I always have to order and when I’m craving pizza when on a diet, the American Hot Leggera gets my vote.
Pizza Express recently launched a new seasonal special menu and I was invited along to try it out. The new limited edition menu features a revamped version of the popular dough balls which are baked with Gran Moravia cheese, two new pizzas Vesuvio (Pepperoni and nâ€™duja sausage) and Cipollini (Spinach, sweet baby onions, red onions and mozzarella) which have sweet potato bases and a new dessert for the sweet tooth’s out there; Rhubarb & Apple Crumble.
To start, I ordered Bruschetta Originale (as predicable as ever!) and instead of my usual Sloppy Giuseppe or American Hot, I opted for the Romana base Rustichella pizza (Crispy pancetta, roasted tomatoes, rocket, Gran Moravia cheese, Caesar dressing). My boyfriend, Ross, ordered the “Speciale” Dough balls and then the Sweet Potato base Vesuvio pizza from the limited edition menu.
There isn’t anything bad I could ever say about the Bruschetta Originale, except, I wish there was more pesto. I haven’t bothered asking for more pesto before but I’m sure it wouldn’t be that big a problem. Hopefully. The combination of tomatoes, red onions, garlic, fresh basil and pesto is wonderful on top of a freshly baked piece of bread. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend that you do.
The “Speciale” Dough balls were rather confusing for me. When we read the description on the menu “our famous dough balls rolled and baked with Gran Moravia cheese”, we thought that the dough balls may be stuffed with cheese. Instead, the dough just had cheese in the mixture. The dough balls were also supposed to be presented with a dip of garlic butter and you could pay extra for either hot nâ€™duja sausage softened with olive oil, or pesto. We asked for an extra dip of pesto but were never given the garlic butter. I do really think that if the dough balls were to be truly “speciale”, cheese should have been oozing from the inside. Don’t get me wrong, they did taste good but something was missing.
When I first saw my Rustichella pizza, I couldn’t believe how big it was. A normal dinner plate could barely handle the size of what was before me. I love Romana base pizzas as they are very thin and crispy, I’m not a fan of thick crust pizzas because there is too much dough for my liking. On my pizza, roasted tomatoes and Gran Moravia cheese were complimented with a rocket and caesar dressing salad topped with crispy pancetta. I loved the pizza. The pancetta was cooked just the way I liked it and loved the rocket salad on top. The next time I go to Pizza Express, I will definitely order this again. One problem I did face was the pizza was just too big for me alone. In the end, I got the half of the pizza boxed up to take home (cold pizza for breakfast anyone?)
The Seasonal Special Vesuvio pizza was full of rich flavours with the pepperoni and n’duja sausage and the rocket salad was once again a welcome addition, however, upon first bite, you couldn’t really tell that the base was sweet potato. I like rich tomato bases on my pizzas and my boyfriend loves sweet potato but I think the base was overwhelmed by the toppings. When we picked some of the toppings off one slice and tasted just the base, the sweet potato was more evident. The overall flavours worked well and if you’re looking for something different than your average pizza, this would be it. My boyfriend being my boyfriend ate all of his pizza as well as some of mine. A good sign if ever there was one.
I didn’t think I could possibly eat anything further but after a good 20 minute break, we decided to try the Rhubarb & Apple Crumble along with the Banoffee Pie. I was really looking forward to the crumble as it has been a favourite of mine since childhood. Unfortunately, I was let down. To me, a classic crumble topping is just butter, flour and sugar crumbled up. However, on this crumble, oatmeal was incorporated and I dislike oatmeal with a passion. It’s a shame really because if I liked oatmeal, I would have really liked the dessert. A novelty with crumble is always pouring the custard (or crÃ¨me Anglaise) on top, in this dessert, the crÃ¨me Anglaise was encased inside. I would have preferred a small jug of crÃ¨me Anglaise on the side so I could pour as much or as little as I liked. Due to the crÃ¨me Anglaise being below the crumble, the fruit compote became rather soft and more puree like.
To end our evening, the Banoffee Pie was surprisingly light. The biscuit base was buttery and nicely crumbled. The banana’s were caramelised with a toffee sauce and then topped with a rather large quantity of fresh cream. I wish that there was more bananas in Banoffee Pie in general. The pie is just screaming for an equal ratio of banana:cream.
Overall, I enjoyed Pizza Express and found some new favourites that I will be ordering again. The staff were very attentive (only the manager knew I was there for a review) and friendly. It was very quiet when we arrived, only three other tables were occupied, but as we were leaving, the restaurant was near full with the staff coping well. Certain items on the menu are rather pricey, but the quality of ingredients used make up for this.
Have you been to Pizza Express? What are your menu favourites? Have you tried the new limited edition menu additions? Let me know!
20 Provan Way, Glasgow G34 9DL
Tel: 0141 771 5979
- Food - 8/108/10
- Service - 8/108/10
- Value - 7/107/10