It’s not that often you find my husband or I in a chain restaurant, we’re usually far too busy trying out the latest independent that’s opened, or in a tried and tested favourite, but I am partial to a Pizza Express. I often find chain high street restaurants to be inconsistent with quality of food, but I think that Pizza Express is an exception to this (my) rule and always thoroughly enjoy my meals there, especially the pizzas. I’m quite partial to their ‘Etna’ Pizza!
Pizza Express has recently launched their new Express Lunch Menu and we were invited along to a local branch to try this out. They are particularly aiming the lunch at workers, and the food can be to eat in or takeaway Mon-Fri and all at very attractive prices.
The menu includes a range of soups, salads, smaller lunch sized pizzas called Romanitas, Piadinas (a kind of sandwich) and a range of side orders.
Between us we ate our way through a range of these (except the soups – it was way too hot for soup!)
Our food arrived about 12minutes after ordering, so if we were on an hours lunch break from work it would have given us plenty of time to eat without rushing. Firstly we tried a Romanita Pizza – the classic Romana thin base in a perfect proportion for lunch. We went for the Padana – one of my favourites, which is goats cheese, caramelised onion and spinach, but they do a range of their most popular toppings including La Reine and the American Hot. As usual with a Pizza Express Pizza, we had no fault. Crispy, flavourful toppings and a snip at £5.45.
We also then shared a Chicken and avocado Piadina. Piadinas (because your dying to know..) are Pizza Express dough topped with Gran Moravia cheese and the then sliced and filled with various fresh ingredients, from Italian Meats to Classic Caprese. Ours was filled with creamy avocado and juicy warm chicken, and tossed with their Ceasar dressing. Again, delicious. My only observation was that the dressing seemed all pooled at the bottom of the Piadina, like it had been poured in first, whereas it might have been a bit better to have tossed the salad in it before filling to give better coverage. None the less it was really tasty, and I couldnt stop raving about the flavour of the bread – gorgeous. Something I’d definitley pick up and I think would be an excellent choice for a takeaway lunch in place of a sandwich. At £4.95, not a bad price either and much more satisfying that even then most luxurious of supermarket offerings.
We also sampled a couple of the salads. Again these are smaller versions of their normal salads. We went for a Niçoise and one of the superfood salads. The Niçoise came with the trademark mini dough sticks (always yummy), but the standout of the two salads was the superfood one. It was packed with lentils, beetroot, butternut squash,pine kernels, light mozzarella and avocado, with baby spinach, basil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Light fresh and perfect for summer. The portion comes out at under 300 calories as well!
Lastly a portion of Polenta Chips were lovely and crunchy with a soft middle and came with a little dipping pot of the honey and mustard dressing, a great accompaniment. Our service all lunch was very good, and watching the other tables as well (and there were quite a few) there didn’t seem to be any issues at all. Service sometimes can be a bit slow at peak times in Pizza Express, due to the sheer volume of people, but at the Sutton Coldfield branch that lunch time we had no such problems.
A few other things that might tickle your fancy that we didn’t try; Butternut Squash and Parsley soup, a Pancetta Lettuce and Tomato Piadina, Bosco Salad, or a side of classic Dough balls and Rucola Salad.
The prices range from just £3.45 – £5.95 for the main dishes with sides being even cheaper and the menu is available Monday-Friday lunch in selected restaurants.
As usual, Pizza Express did not disappoint and we really enjoyed our lunch. The Express menu is a great concept and would definitley tempt me again…I can’t wait to get my hands on another Piadina! The restaurant manager told us that a very similar menu had been launched last summer with not a huge amount of success, but they have tweaked the recipes and options again this year and it seems to be working well in my opinion!
Have a look at the Pizza Express Website here and find out if your local branch is serving the express lunch today!
Disclosure: We dined as guests of the venue. All opinion expressed are honest and our own. We were not required to write a positive review