Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Restaurant review: Pizza Express


Where I ate:
Pizza Express, High Street, Brentwood
I haven’t been out in Brentwood for ages and to be honest, there aren’t many restaurants to shout home about, in fact there’s nothing there at all (unless you’re a TOWIE fan). But I went to Pizza Express a fortnight ago, as I’d not been for ages and it’s one of the better places in town. Being between Christmas and New Year, it wasn’t busy at all and despite booking for 8:15, I could have easily turned up 15 minutes earlier and got a table. Unfortunately I was driving and I wished I hadn’t when I saw this Christmas menu:
Prosecco AND limoncello, seriously what I was thinking?! Instead I had a sparkling water, but did have three courses, thanks to a deal code: £13.95, bargain.
Like I say, it wasn’t busy: the restaurant was about half-full. We sat at the back, where there was loads of space – everyone else seemed to be in the window, or between the front and the kitchen. It was quite nice being out of the way. Our waitress was lovely and friendly and definitely made the evening a lot better – there’s nothing worse than a good meal but crap service.
What I ate:
Starter – dough balls
Main course – pollo pancetta salad (chicken and pancetta with Peppadew peppers, sweet baby onions, vine tomatoes, cucumber, red peppers, seasonal mixed leaves, basil and mint. Extra virgin olive oil & red wine vinegar dressing, Gran Moravia cheese, warm dough sticks)
Dessert – chocolate fudge cake (with cream)
You can’t go to Pizza Express and not have the dough balls, it’s pretty much the rules! I can never normally manage a whole portion, with a pizza afterwards, but from the set menu, it was well worth ordering – even if I couldn’t eat them all. How do they make them taste so light?
I always order the same pizza (pollo ad astra leggera, for those asking) but have often been tempted by the salads. It was a tough choice between the pollo pancetta salad and the new leggera salad (obviously adding chicken), but the former edged it this time round. I’m in love with the peppadew peppers, which are also on my favourite pizza; they have just the right sweetness and tang. Despite having the dough balls to start, I still managed the dough sticks and if possible, they were even tastier; so hot and fresh! There was loads of chicken and pancetta too, but not enough of the dressing for my liking – even though it was lovely. I would definitely order this again.
With the option of ice cream or chocolate fudge cake for dessert, of course, I went for the fat option – it’s only right after a salad, yeah? Why have I only just tried and it why has no one ever recommended this before?! The nicest chocolate fudge cake I’ve EVER had, even if it did arrive in Bruce Bogtrotter style quantities. He’d have certainly demolished it, and, I won’t lie, I did too. It wasn’t at all sickly or rich, the sponge was so light and not at all stodgy. I didn’t really need the cream because it wasn’t dry. I now know what I’ll always order for dessert – although I still want to try the dolcetti.

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