Ode to Pizza Express
After a pretty boring lunch of ham sandwiches today, I remembered a few snaps I took at a recent Pizza Express lunch. The setting was Darlington, the occasion was UNIVERSITY IS COMPLETE, and I needed a simple, relaxing lunch with Andy (the boyfriend).
Pizza Express is one of those restaurants you can always rely on: everyone has their favourite dish, and the restaurants and relaxed and friendly. I lived in Darlington for 2 years before recently returning to Manchester, and visited the Darlington Pizza Express a fair few times, with various friends and family members. Twitter has been busy recently with news of the summer and gluten-free Pizza Express menus, so we were tempted back for a relaxed and yummy lunchtime.
The Darlington Pizza Express is right in the centre of town, and is a big space with high ceilings. It never seems too crowded, and the service is usually friendly and fast. On this particular day, it did take 10 minutes of standing being ignored at the door before we were seated, but they did apologise nicely for this and were very attentive for the rest of the meal.
We didn’t actually sample new dishes – we both have our favourites!
For drinks, Andy opted for coke and I for apple juice: it was a hot day and I needed something cold. We had the obligatory (scrumptious) dough balls, before moving onto our main courses…
Andy is definitely a pizza kind of person, flitting between the American Hot and this day’s choice: the Diavolo Romana.
If I’m having a pizza, I tend to opt for the simple American, but at lunchtimes I’m often tempted by the lovely salad selection. I opted for my favourite, the Pollo Pancetta Salad. The Pizza Express salads are that great balance of being fairly healthy (better than pizza, anyway), but they’re filling and feel like a proper meal!
We both really enjoyed our meals, and my salad was possibly one of the best-prepared I’ve had across the (numerous) Pizza Expresses I’ve tried.
The prices at Pizza Express seem to have climbed fairly steeply over the last few years; it used to be a fairly cheap option, but now a main meal is usually £9 or £10, putting it more on a level with places like Zizzi. However, alongside this, their production of vouchers has completely soared. It’s got to the point now where the waiters tend to ask if you have a voucher, and you almost feel a bit silly for setting foot inside without one when they’re everywhere! For this meal, we had a 25% off main meals voucher – even more reason to head there.
Pizza Express is one of those places that just doesn’t really let you down. Everyone likes the food, there’s an enormous range of options, there are naughty and healthy choices, and there’s a relaxed family atmosphere. My family have always loved it, and I’m sure we will for many years more!
What’s your favourite Pizza Express dish?