Ahh, Pizza Express. Since the olden days of Orange Wednesdays (ask yer nan) we have been regular visitors. When the management at Pizza Express invited us to check out the venue’s refurb and autumn menu, it would’ve been rude not to – especially as it is the home to one of Cat’s favourite puddings.
Cat sipped her watermelon and strawberry drink as we nibbled at marinated green olives and garlic cloves, while considering the new menu. As we perused its touches of handwriting style and rustic wobbly lines, we found the new dishes among the classic favourites.
Doughballs is our go-to starter, but this time we tried something a bit more grown up. Cat was impressed with her mozzerella and tomato salad. The toms were approvingly at room temperate and the mild creamy cheese was the right side of moist; almost runny in places. Fresh basil and pesto added an aromatic flavour kick and the whole dish was dressed with extra virgin olive oil.
Matt’s calamari was excellent – possibly (for him) the dish of the evening! Fried hot and with a burnt taste, plus fresh lemon to squeeze over it. It was served with a vinegary dipping sauce but the thick, tasty squid didn’t really need it.
Our waiter pointed out some of the new dishes, including the calabrese pizza. He had Matt at ‘spicy sausage’!
The rectagular calabrese looked pretty benign, with its fluffy clouds of mozzerella and shavings of Gran Milano cheese. However it was pretty fiery: the spicy Calabrese sausage and fresh red chillis were pretty intense – not for the faint of palate! Helpfully Matt had a glass of Thatcher’s Gold cider to dampen down the fire!
Cat was gently steered towards the new autumn menu and the Rustichella Romana. This vast pizza was decorated with peppery rocket and roasted tomatoes, curly shavings of nutty Gran Milano cheese and mild and sweet wafer-thin pancetta
Cat’s pizza came with drizzles of Caesar dressing and she further anointed it with garlic oil. It had a nice elastic pizza base; not too brittle and easily yielding under the pizza wheel.
As tempting as the desserts were, we were pretty defeated so chose from the dolcetti menu. Matt had salted caramel profiteroles and green tea. Fridge-cold, the ‘roles might have benefitted from being served slightly warmer. Nonetheless the delicately salted caramel cream centres were pretty lush.
Cat fussed around over whether to have the chocolate brownie or lemon posset but her choice was always going to be caffe reale. We’ve been known to leave other restaurants so Cat can have this dessert. She loves the spicy figs served with thick marscapone and a shot of coffee.
In the hierarchy of pizza places in Newport Pizza Express is generally considered to be midway between Olivo (Ohleevoh), and Pizza Hut. The refurbishment could be described as ‘light touch’; the floor has been refreshed plus there are some new pictures on the walls, but there is nothing to shock us regulars out of our comfort zone. The service was friendly as ever, and we enjoyed the familiar Pizza Express experience.
We were the guests of Pizza Express, Newport