The Crazy Kitchen: Family night with Pizza Express

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Friday, 29 November 2013

Family night with Pizza Express

We don't eat out very much as a family as it's usually so darn expensive, especially as we can no longer palm the eldest off with a kids meal as he eats twice as much as anybody else in the house and never stops growing!

When I was asked to carry out a review of Pizza Express it came at just the right time, and, after a busy week, we popped to our nearest branch in Stafford on Saturday afternoon. It also happened to be the day of the Santa parade and Christmas light switch on so the town was packed.

The Pizza Express restaurant occupies a lovely position on the Market Square in the centre of the town, right where all the action was going on. Mike the Knight was there, although Jack refused to have his photo taken with him.

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We reserved a table for 4pm in the hope that we would be finished ready for the light switch on at 5pm, and the restaurant was buzzing. It's had a makeover since I last visited and was so much nicer than the bright, cold place that it was previously. The bar area has been moved to the side of the tables and this, along with the low lighting, gave the place a lot more atmosphere.

I was asked to carry out a review of the 'new vegetarian menu' however I was informed that there was no 'vegetarian menu' but all the vegetarian dishes were marked with a V. This threw me a little and I'm not the quickest at choosing from a menu at the best of times so quickly opted for a vegetarian Pomodoro Pesto Leggera, topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, pesto and garlic and served with a salad in the centre, all under 500 calories.

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Hanna picked a pasta dish from the children's menu, Jack had a pizza, Sam an American pizza off the main menu and the husband an American hot pizza. The meals and drinks were brought out quickly and we opted to have the children's starters of dough balls and salad at the same time as the mains. Whilst they waited they were kept busy with pencils and activity packs.

I love Pizza Express pizzas as their base is lovely and thin and crispy and they are always packed full of flavour. Having looked at their Christmas range I now want to try out the Porchetta Romana, a pizza with roasted pork belly, sage & mozzarella on top of a scrumpy cider apple sauce, with pork crackling - sounds delicious! I would finish the meal off with snowball dough balls , sprinkled with cinnamon and served with vanilla cream.

Even though the restaurant was full to capacity we didn't have to wait long for food and drinks and the staff were very friendly. The children managed to squeeze a quick dessert and Bambinoccino in before it was time to leave and watch Hanna's friend (from dance class that she used to attend) switch the lights on.

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I was provided with a gift card towards the cost of our meal

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