I was invited along to try out the new spring menu at Pizza Express. Phill and I often find ourselves at Pizza Express before a cinema date but it had been a while since I’d visited the Bedford Street, Belfast restaurant. I’d heard it had recently had a makeover and the new interior is really lovely – with light grey marble table tops and leather bound chairs. It’s classy but understated and as we took our seats for an early mid-week dinner, it wasn’t long before the place filled up with diners.
For starters, I ordered the Calamari and Phill got the new Classic Italian Antipasto. I love calamari and I really like the way it was presented in a tall bowl with a lemon slice and caesar dressing on the side. The breaded calamari coating was a little overdone in parts but it didn’t stop me eating the whole lot.
The Antipasto was so big I was convinced our waitress had ordered us the sharing sized Antipasto but, when I checked, it was indeed the single portion that was served. There was a three slices of cheesey dough bread, a ton of olives and a generous portion of cured meats, roasted tomatoes, marinated aubergine, rocket leaves, garlic butter and a ball of buffalo mozzarella cheese. If I had have ordered this as my starter there would be no way I’d have room for a main course. Luckily Phill is not me, and polished off the entire plateful (with a little help from me) with still plenty of room for the main course. The highlight was the smokey harissa and tomato tip, the bread and the olives. We both felt the plate didn’t need the butter element – it was rich and tasty enough without it.
For the main course I had set my heart on the healthy Leggera Superfood Salad – a new low calorie addition to the Pizza Express menu. However, when I went to order it I was told it was not available as they were having supplier issues. I wish this had have been explained to me when I was brought the menu! Since I was in the mood for a healthy salad, I choose the bosco salad with chicken – which apparently was a new and improved recipe. Since I’ve never had the dish before I can’t tell you whether or not it was very different. The bottom of the salad was spinach and rocket and then the garlic mushrooms, tomatoes, light mozzerella and chicken were piled on top, with a a mustard dressing and garlic sticks on the side. It was really tasty and I didn’t bother adding the mustard dressing as it was dressed with a light balsamic syrup, which added just the right amount of moistness to the dish.
I tried to convince Phill to order the new Hawaiian Pizza from the menu but he wasn’t having any of it. Unfortunately neither of us like pineapple on our pizzas! Instead he opted for the Pennette Bolognese – a rich tomato and garlic sauce with beef and porcini mushrooms. There was a ton of pasta for him to get through and he enjoyed mopping up the rich tomato sauce with some of my garlic sticks.
For dessert Phill played it save with the Chocolate Cake, whilst I went for the brand new Passionate Mess. Both were modest sizes and were served with vanilla ice-cream. The chocolate cake was cold and the main flavour of the Passionate Mess was – you guessed it – passion fruit! We both enjoyed our desserts but they didn’t have us umming and ahhing with every bite – which I feel desserts have an obligation to do!
All in all we really enjoyed the food at Pizza Express. We’d both agree the Antipasto starter was the star of the show. I’d have been happy to munch on that for my main course! Pizza Express is the perfect place to go for an after work or pre-cinema treat, or for lunch out with the family. The menu is regularly updated to keep your interest, and the prices are affordable (most main courses are under £10). The service was also very good – our waitress was very attentive and the food was brought out extremely fast.
Thank you to Pizza Express for inviting me along to sample the new spring menu. The food was complimentary and my review is a completely honest account.