Monday, 5 September 2016
REVIEW: Pizza Express Summer Menu
A few weeks back, my sister was away on her honeymoon and offered up their home in Windsor to Matt and I as a base for a minibreak. This was a GREAT idea. As you know, we're still living with my parents, and I can't deny that we've been feeling a bit edgy about the lack of space. Still super grateful for the chance to buy our own place, don't get me wrong, but going from a flat to just one room is difficult, there's no denying it. I MISS OUR SOFA. So having use of someone else's home - and sofa - for a couple of days was an amazing opportunity, and we jumped at the chance.
It's actually a really nice thing to do, and when we have our own place, I'll definitely repay the favour to my sister and her husbands - or even offer it out to other friends when we're away. It gives them a weekend away on a serious budget, and gives us the knowledge that our home is being looked after when we're not in it. And hopefully they'll leave wine in our fridge.
We decided to totally embrace our weekend in Windsor and went full tourist. We did so much exploring that my Spartoo flipflops just about wore out! We went round the castle, we drank Pimms, and we had a nice meal out. Actually, I'd been asked to review the new Summer menu at Pizza Express so relocated it to Windsor, and enjoyed a really nice weekend together without feeling guilty about affecting our house savings.
So - Pizza Express! Well, I know that summer is technically over, but their summer menu is still going strong. I'd been eyeing their latest pizzas for a while, so was super excited to try them - spoiler alert, the Barbacoa is mindblowing.
Matt had one of the new starters - Risotto Fresco, which was a salmon risotto. His review was that it was really tasty, and a filling starter. Perhaps not totally revolutionary, but as salmon risottos go, it was a nice one. I started with tomato bruschetta, which I will generally always order if it's on a menu because it's amazing, and it was. Tomatoey and pestoey with nice soft bread.
Onto the pizzas! We shared the new Barbacoa and the Hawaiian. I love a Hawaiian pizza - definitely not one of those anti-pineapple weirdos you hear about these days - and the Pizza Express version intrigued me as they'd put a bit of a twist on it. Rather than pineapple chunks, they used a sweet chilli pineapple chutney. Rather than ham, it was proscuitto crudo. Instead of your usual tomato base, they used a white bechamel base. And topped it all with plenty of cheese, basil, garlic oil and whatnot.
The final result was really, really good but so, so soooo rich. Like, we've all been in Pizza Express before, had an enormous pizza put down in front of us, said 'I'll never finish that!' and then proceeded to hoover up the lot with barely a struggle, right? RIGHT. But the Hawaiian... guys, I struggled. In fact, we didn't finish it. And I'd wager that if we'd shared that and nothing else, we would have been satisfied. I'd actually say it was too rich - the combination of sweet toppings, creamy sauce and cheese was a little sickly.
Thank heavens, then, for the Barbacoa Romana, here to save the day! Pizza Express, please keep this on your menu full time and create a Leggera version so I can eat it every time I visit your restaurant. It's basically salsa on a pizza - freshly made, spicy salsa - topped with pulled, smoky beef. Plus cheese. The dream. It was so full of flavour, and I loved that it was topped with fresh tomato and coriander - it felt like it might actually be good for me? Maybe a little? Like, it was huge and I've seen the nutritional information, it really wasn't, but compared to the cheesy, creamy pizza sitting next to it on the table, it definitely was. And it was DELICIOUS.
I finished with the new Eton Mess cheesecake - apt, as we were in Windsor, right? I was pretty full by this point, but found room for this creamy, fruity dessert. The cheesecake was fluffy and light and I loved the crispy meringue topping.
Matt had one of the Dolcetti desserts - a tiny dessert that comes with coffee. He opted for the brownie, which was good. You can't go wrong with a brownie, tbh.
The Summer menu at Pizza Express was a pretty good one. I liked that their new pizzas involved a twist on a classic and something totally new. While the Hawaiian is a bit too rich for every day, the Barbacoa needs to stay on the menu full time, because I am in love with it.
We went to Pizza Express at Thames Street, Windsor SL4 1PL. The restaurant gave us a voucher towards the cost of our meal in exchange for this honest review.
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