Food & Drink Reviews
Review: Pizza Express
Aside from the aroma of garlic sizzling in olive oil and fresh, hot pizza dough, the first thing to hit your senses as you walk into Gosforth High Street’s Pizza Express is the chitter chatter of young families. If you go, as we did, direct from work, the early evening clientele will have an average age of around 7. As your meal progresses, the diners will age. By 7.30pm the friendly bustle is created by young couples and groups of friends, all enjoying the best this newly refurbished venue has to offer. As well as a new look, the restaurant has launched a new menu, which includes a host of tasty express lunch dishes. Take your pick from Tuscan cuisine-inspired salads, fiery, smoky chicken pizza, oak-roasted salmon and lots more.
Having whetted my appetite with pink peppercorn marinated olives (£2.55) and a healthy portion of irresistible garlic bread with mozzarella (£3.95), I moved onto the main: Pianta Pizza (£8.45). This ‘new classic’ pizza is sans cheese. A risk, but one I was glad to have taken. Spinach, chestnut mushrooms, plump pine nuts and tangy artichokes jostle for position, drizzled in amber-hued extra virgin olive oil on one of the delicious bases Pizza Express is known for.
My friend ordered the new Risotto Fresco (£10.85). With its fresh lemony flavours, lightness and uncomplicated seasoning, this dish is a good example of what makes Pizza Express such an easy choice. Well executed, consistently tasty Italian food should always be so simple.
In the name of diligence, we also tried the delicious twice-baked polenta chips (£3.95), which are crispy, then fluffy and singing with rosemary. And, for your sake, we gave the new rocket and Gran Moravia salad (£3.45) a go too. Luxuriating in exquisite black truffle oil, this is a bargain taste sensation and an affordable way to explore Italy’s food heritage a little more deeply than your local trattoria might allow.
Of course, Pizza Express’s classic pizzas (from £7.55) are all present and correct – the Margherita with its creamy mozzarella, the Fiorentina complete with free range egg, the La Reine with its generous topping of Prosciutto Cotto ham, olives and earthy mushrooms… But the new stuff is good too. This menu covers every Italian food-related eventuality. From the chilled Pinot Grigio to the immaculate Double Chocolate Espresso Torta and intensely flavoured gelatos, there are many reasons to get yourself to Pizza Express, sharpish.Pizza Exress, 125 High Street, Gosforth. Open Mon-Fri 11am-11pm. 0191 285 9799. pizzaexpress.com/visit-a-restaurant/restaurant/gosforth