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Tanti auguri a Pizza Express! (50 years of amazing food)

Once upon a time, there was a proud, obsessive and stubborn young boy named Peter Boizot who fell in love with the authentic Italian Pizza and felt he needed to do more with it.

So what does he do next?

Decides to revolutionise the eating out scene in the UK by introducing pizza and casual dining to the High Street, knocking off a few walls in the bargain because his oven was too big for the door, and makes way for what we all know as Pizza Express today.

The first ever one in Soho, London.

So much has happened since then…

50 years down the line, they have moved to 13 countries and set up over 500 restaurants all over the world.

Today, it is one of the world’s leading casual brands and they still continue to bring the great taste of Italy right onto our plates.

I was so honoured to be a part of the Chef’s Table and get a taste of the newly launched menu in celebration of turning 50.

This was an extra special occasion because it happens to be my all-time favourite pizza place especially when I’m feeling low, home sick and craving for comfort food.

My experiences here have always been great. Never had anything to complain about and I’ve always been taken good care of.

We began the evening with Pizzaialo Uday, giving us an insight on what goes into making those beautiful pizzas we drool over endlessly and also informed us about some mind-blowing facts which I had never even bothered to think of or ask about all my previous experiences here.

ON MY POST-IT!

  1. Their pizza chefs are known as pizzaiolos and are trained in the art of dough-flaring taking centre stage in their open kitchen.

2. The dough is kept in the freezer for a couple of hours before it is defrosted and rolled out.

3.They use a wide range of different kinds of cheeses where each one of them has their own unique flavour and texture.

4.They use a beautiful, rich tomato based sauce called Passata that has been sourced from the Greci family in Italy.

5. They add the right amount of ingredients on the pizza base and try to avoid overloading it in order to get out the best of flavours

6. They have only ovens in their kitchen so even their fudge cake is baked, beat that!

The dough balls in their frozen state

The dough balls ready to be rolled out!

Margherita Buffalo in the making

This was followed by a crazy session where we got to put on our aprons and chef hats and got down to making our own pizzas

The Making Of Our Very Own Pizzas

Step 1: Passata on a Romano base

Step 2: Getting all the ingredients together

Step 3: Throw in all of the ingredients but at the same time make sure it looks pretty

Our version of the Padrino 65

Out of the oven, and ready to be attacked!

Wasn’t that so easy? And who said Pizza making was a task!

Enough of listening, staring and making pizzas. It was time to chill with some smashing drinks and gorge on beautiful food now…

Zenzero Fresca

Started off with the new addition to their menu that has the goodness of carrot, orange juice, ginger and lemon juice. Very interesting combination of flavours indeed! It’s a refreshing drink for all you health freaks out there!

Martini di Ananas

Anything ‪pink I see and oh boy it gets me so happy! I was thanking God it had nothing to do with strawberry  though! This new ‪cocktail is spiked with both my favourite spirits- Vodka and Bacardi, pineapple juice and grenadine syrup.

All the ingredients in the drink complemented each other so well and it turned out to be one smashing drink that kept me high all night!

Ginger Mint Mojito

I’ve had this one before and it’s always been my favourite so I had to have it again. Bacardi rum, sprite, lime, mint and fresh ginger. That aroma you get from the ginger is truly blessed!

After a couple of drinks and lots of chattering, it was time to brace myself for the much awaited starters.

The new menu has two different kinds to cater to the tastebuds of both the vegetarian and non vegetarian eater.

Antipasto Verde

This was an assorted veg platter with antipasto, roasted tomatoes, rocket and peppadew, fresh buffalo mozzarella served along with basil pesto, pesto rosso and dough sticks baked with emilgrana. I obviously preferred the non- vegetarian option over this but that roasted tomatoes and the buffalo mozzarella, really stole my heart. I’ve never eaten such fresh, juicy tomatoes bursting with flavours at any restaurant before and the moist, fluffy buffalo mozzarella I could eat all the time!

Antipasto Pollo e Gambero

An assorted non-veg platter with pesto marinated chicken, prawns on stewers along with rocket, peppadew, roasted tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, served with basil pesto, pesto rosso and dough sticks baked with emilgrana.

Meats on grills generally excite me and these were truly spectacular! Those beautiful, succulent prawns staring at me from the plate had kickass flavours and the pesto marinade was a real beauty.

I’ve always been a fan of their signature dough balls, so the dough sticks worked really well for me too.

Special mention to the sun dried tomato pesto sauce that accompanied the dough sticks brilliantly!

It was now time to get dirty and messy, bringing out the child in me and watch as I attacked those thin,beautiful crust pizzas that Pizza Express is known for!

Amore Nascosto

A new masterpiece by the Indian Pizzaiolos that happened to be my favourite pizza of the night!

A Romano pizza with speck ham, spicy N’duja, harissa marinated tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella seasoned with pepper and oregano & garnished with fresh spinach and creamy ricotta. That speck ham was absolutely stunning and a special mention to those juicy, flavourful tomatoes!

You can’t go to Pizza Express without trying this especially if you’re a paleo eater like me!

Arrabbiata

Another new addition to the menu and my second favourite of the night!

It’s a classic pizza with spicy arrabbiata chicken, fresh cherry tomatoes, jalapeños seasoned with oregano, black pepper and chilli oil. I fell in love with the perfect crust of this pizza which was not too thick yet not chappati crisp. Definitely a must have!

D’ Andrea

It’s got the special ingredient of feta cheese in it which makes it one outstanding pizza. A classic pizza with grilled chicken, mozzarella, feta cheese and roasted peppers. Total comfort food!

Enough of the pizzas now, moving on to the next love of my life- Pastas

Penne con Peppadew

Started off with this beautiful dish of penne pasta in creamy white sauce with tangy-sweet peppadew, chargrilled vegetables, onion and garlic, seasoned with parsley, chilli flakes and emilgrana. The pasta cooked al dente got a big smile from me. I’m very particular about the way my pasta has to be cooked and it went great with all the other components of the dish so do try it!

Pollo Pesto Baked

Baked penned in creamy basil pesto sauce with earthy mushrooms, grilled chicken, red onion, mozzarella and emilgrana. It’s one of those dishes that will immediately pep you up especially when you’re feeling low. But sadly, the flavours were not up to the mark and didn’t really suit my palate.

Linguine Ai Gambero a Pesto Rosso

Tossed with crispy garlic flakes, chilli flakes, tangy pesto rosso, prawns, white wine and finally garnished with parsley & emilgrana, it was bursting with great earthy flavours! I loved how light this dish was and the texture of that ‪pasta was gorgeous. I’ve been obsessed with linguine lately so it was a win-win dish for me.

This was definitely the highlight of the night and highly recommended by #MsYumTum

How much ever I stuff my face, life has to end on a sweet note and it could not get sweeter than with this dessert platter that consisted of their signature cheese cake, chocolate fudge cake and tiramisu.

The world knows how crazy I am about their cheesecake so honestly that’s the only thing I ate and finished every crumb off from the plate. I had a spoon of the tiramisu but felt the coffee content was a bit too much therefore overpowering the entire dessert and the chocolate fudge cake was nothing extraordinary. I’ve had better ones before so I personally would just stick to the cheesecake.

Wow. Can’t believe 50 years just went by…

It’s been 50 years of delicious food, unique experiences and beautiful people to celebrate and I’m so thrilled to be a part of this exciting, wonderful journey of theirs!

There are so many lovely, interesting new additions that will keep you satisfied all day and night.

So what are you waiting for? Head to Pizza Express right away!

Now I believe I’ve told a beautiful story and I hoped you all enjoyed it.

THE END!

Follow them on

Twitter: @PizzaExpressIN

Instagram: @Pizzaexpressin

And also do like their Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/pizzaexpressindia

(The author was invited to taste the newly launched menu. However, her views are unbiased and solely her own.)

You can also like my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/yummyinsidemytummy

And follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @msyumtum

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