What with new year healthiness and most people I know generally not having a lot of money this month, I haven’t really been eating out as much as I should, given that I’ve just moved to a town packed full of restaurants.
Luckily, I had the perfect excuse to break this sad trend when Pizza Express asked me if I’d like to review one of their restaurants – erm, yes please!
It was actually with a view to promoting their Christmas menu that they were contacting bloggers, but things were so hectic in December I was never going to have enough time to visit and do the write up before the festive season ended and so I waited until last week to try the normal menu instead.
My lovely friend and co-reviewer Fiona and I visited the Pizza Express restaurant in Newquay – according to my colleague it has the most amazing views out over the sea, but as we visited at night unfortunately that bit completely passed me by.
I am the worst person ever at making menu decisions, and this was no exception. Even though I had already committed to having pizza, the choices on offer are extensive – first you have to decide if you want the classic base or the thinner and crispier, more ‘authentic Italian’ Romana base, then you have a choice of ten or so different flavours, or your own choice of topping.
I went for the Caprina Rossa Romana, which consists of mozzarella, goat’s cheese, beetroot, red onion, tomato, rocket and pesto. Fiona chose the Diavolo (I think because she was looking for the one with the most meat), which was topped with hot spiced beef, pepperoni, red onions, Tabasco and some sort of hot green peppers.
I thought mine was great – beetroot and goats cheese could both potentially be quite overpowering, but all the flavours worked together well, and were interesting enough to make you want to finish the pizza, rather than get bored half way through.
Fiona liked hers too, although her main complaint was that our waitress didn’t ask what type of chillies she wanted – apparently you get a choice of hot green, jalapeno or roquito peppers, but not being chilli aficionados we weren’t too sure what she was actually given. They definitely weren’t jalapeños, but they were super hot and it would definitely be a struggle to eat them all.
We both agreed that the Romana base was good, but slightly verging on too crispy at the edges. Could be because we’re used to the slightly thicker type that you’re usually served in England, but I don’t like deep-pan pizzas at all so I would much prefer too thin to too thick.
Sadly where Pizza Express let itself down, in my opinion, was with the desserts.
Even though I was stuffed full of pizza (probably more bread and cheese than I would normally have in a week) I felt like I couldn’t write a proper review without trying something sweet.
I chose a lemon meringue torts from the ‘dolcetti’ menu – mini desserts served with a coffee. I know that desserts at Pizza Express are going to be mass produced, frozen and defrosted, but even with that in mind it was still a bit of a letdown – the lemon had no zing whatsoever, the meringue was too soft and sweet, and the pastry was bland.
Fiona’s chocolate fudge cake was better, but we both agreed that it would have been much better served warm, and that in most places that’s what you’d expect to get.
In Pizza Express’ defence, you go there for pizza, not dessert, so it’s kind of fair enough that they focus their attention on the mains. Also, the couple sat at the table next to us shared a giant ice cream sundae and that did look pretty immense, so maybe it was a bit of bad ordering on my part that was partly to blame.
Overall, we really enjoyed our meal and I would definitely go back again – but when it’s light enough to enjoy the view, and definitely with ice cream for dessert!
Disclaimer bit – Pizza Express very kindly gave me a gift card to spend at the restaurant, but opinions are 100% honest – I definitely didn’t have to be nice!