Chocolate pudding: an absolute must-have when breast-feeding, right?
Pizza Express | Taste of Autumn Menu | Review by Elizabeth Hudson + family
I’ve always been a fan of Pizza Express. I remember going when I was younger with my parents and sister and looking forward to dough balls with garlic butter and thin based pizza’s: my favourite. Now I have a little family of my own, my partner Joe, my newborn daughter Ava (five weeks old), and I, visited our local restaurant in Staines. I was lucky to have a relatively smooth birth with Ava, so have been able to get out and about with her in the pram. But a trip to a restaurant felt like some kind of parenting challenge. Would she cry, would we be able to eat, would we fall asleep in our deserts?….
“Did someone say ‘chocolate fondant something?…”
We arrived to a fairly busy restaurant for a Thursday lunchtime and were shown to a table that was comfortable enough to accommodate Ava’s pram and, as our waiter Tom suggested, away from the large, noisy party at the back (probably for both our, and their, benefits). The menu, as usual, was full of delicious sounding offerings – it was almost overwhelming. However we were soon drawn to the newest part of the menu with an autumnal-themed selection with a wide range of warming ingredients.
Did you know… Winter doesn’t start until the Winter Solstice on December 21 or 22
We sipped on the refreshing drinks from the new menu while we decided on our food choices – a zingy Passionfruit Lemonade and fruity Watermelon Still. When it came to the decision making time I chose the Risotto Fresca from the Autumn menu to start and the Margherita Bufala Romana Pizza from the main menu to follow. Joe, who’s appetite as a new dad is through the roof, opted for the Dough Balls Doppio (the sharing size!) as his starter, followed by the Cannelloni from the Autumn menu. Ava snoozed away happily in her pram, while Joe and I sat contentedly (read: dazed from a few snatched hours/zero hours sleep).
Dough Balls Doppio – the sharing size
My eyes lit up on the arrival of our starters and Joe’s jaw dropped at the size of his. My Risotto Fresca was a perfect blend of creaminess and texture, full of fresh bursts of flavour from the oak-roasted salmon fillet and fruity tomatoes. I was oddly getting hints of the summer while devouring it but there was no mistaking the warmth of the chilli oil that gave me a cosy feeling in my stomach. Of course I had to help Joe with his Dough Balls, which were accompanied by a trio of dips to choose from – pesto, pestorissa (a harissa spiced tomato dip) and, of course, garlic butter.
We had a short break in between courses, and Joe fed Ava her lunch of ‘bottle of milk’. I sleepily continued to rock her pram, minus the baby inside it… oh, the signs of a new mum functioning on less than three hours sleep!
When our mains did arrive my pizza did not disappoint, on taste or size, but I did have slight food envy of Joe’s Cannelloni (below). Still bubbling hot in its dish, the crispy cheese topping encased a perfect combination of spinach and ricotta filled pasta. As I expected, I couldn’t quite finish my pizza (I was obviously leaving room for pudding) so had the remainder boxed to take home and enjoy when I had room once again.
Not one for desserts Joe opted for a cappuccino to satisfy his after-dinner caffeine cravings. However, I’ve never been one to shy away from the dessert menu, no matter how full you are, there’s always room for something sweet.
I went for the Chocolate Fondant ‘Pizza Express’ from the new menu (pictured below) – I can’t decide if it was the promise of ‘intense warm chocolate’ or ‘soft melting centre’ that sounded more appealing, probably both. Topped with vanilla gelato, I didn’t want my chocoholics dessert to end. With a lava of smooth melted chocolate in the centre, the chocolate cake surrounding it was surprisingly light, and the whole thing left me craving more.
After a few moments to settle Ava back into her pram, and let our food digest, we left feeling satisfied and relaxed. Our experience at Pizza Express had not only been a delicious one but very contented. We were well looked after by our waiter Tom, very attentive and always making sure we were happy with our food, and that Ava was ok. I would continue to recommend Pizza Express as a restaurant for delicious offerings, but also as a comfortable place to dine with your loved ones, young and old.
It was great to have a change of scene, have someone cook for us (instead of one of the meals I made before she was born and packed away in our freezer), and indulge. When she was settled, it was easy – much easier than dining out with a wriggly toddler, I imagine. Plus, the size of the portions means you always get leftovers to take home for tea – a day of no cooking = result!
Check out the latest menus and find your nearest restaurant, at Pizza Express online
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