I LOVE London. Something about the culture there fascinates me.
The food there? Usually not so much.
But like they say, “Third times a charm” and that can be applied to my recent U.K. experience. On my first two visits to the country I didn’t create the opportunity to explore tasty options, in fact I mainly ate what was given to me or dined at the usual pub. In 2013 however, that would be unacceptable behavior. Recommended by a family friend, Pizza Express was exactly what I needed to experience in the city.
Being more popular than I could imagine, Pizza Express has over 400 restaurants within the United Kingdom with each one being unique in their decor. Their concept was developed in the sixties and inspired by, “fresh thinking”. This West End location around the corner from Piccadilly Square and Regent Street has two floors for comfortable seating, a meeting room, and is open Monday through Saturday 11:30AM to 12AM; On Sunday they close at 11PM.
Now although I don’t love pizza, I enjoy it from time to time and today was London’s chance to satisfy my craving. I went with the Pollo ad Astra which consisted of Chicken, Sweet Peppadew Peppers, Red Onions, Mozzerella, Tomato, Cajun Spices and Garlic Oil. I’m drooling just thinking about this crafty Italian dish. I sipped some red with this one (although white would have been better with chicken) of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
Diners can experience decently priced meals in Pizza Express’s laid back, contemporary location. The pizzas come dressed to impress so you don’t have to. With a reasonably priced menu patrons can get a meal and a beverage for £20. Not too bad, and converts to about $30.85 according to today’s pound to dollar rate.
Not interested in pizza? There are many other Italian favorites like pasta, calzones, and salads. Got an allergy? Their menu has “gluten-free” options to work with. They even have an “Intro” that you can have BEFORE your “Starter”. Love it.
Upon arrival of my pizza and wine (always a winning combination) I noticed my pizza was uncut. I thought that was pretty cool! My pizza cutter and I had a GREAT Time together! As I ran the cutter across the pizza and divided up my uneven sections I liked that the pie stayed together. They didn’t serve it too hot-the cheese wasn’t sliding all over-making it perfect to work with as a newbie cutter.
The taste was very, very, satisfying. The Cajun sauce wasn’t overbearing, but gentle with the spice being used here more for flavor than warming the mouth. The veggies and chicken blended well and had a nice balance. Not too much sauce to drown in on a thin crust. I can see this thriving in New York. Very tasty Pizza Express! My wine, although dry, had nice cherry notes. I did enjoy this bottle and must buy one in the states.
With a phone app for Android or iOS, online table reservations, and a take away option Pizza Express makes it easy to get the food you want, when you want it. Can’t make it to the restaurant? They have option to prepare at home in your location U.K. Supermarket. Maybe one day they’ll hit America. Boston First I hope.
Pizza Express in Haymarket
26 Panton House,
Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4EN
020 7930 8044