The mention of a new Carbonara Pizza on the Autumn/Winter menu at Pizza Express caught my attention in an email recently. The merging of two of my favourte things – Carbonara and pizza on one plate. Why was this not something I’d tasted before? A marriage made in heaven in my books and one that didn’t disappoint on flavour when I tried it at Pizza Express in Westfield, London.
Of course, there is always more on the menu to tempt you at Pizza Express than pizza, not least their signature Dough balls – available in a sweet form (Snowball dough balls) this Christmas. Founded in 1965 by Peter Boizot, Pizza Express was the first to bring pizza to the UK high street. It’s always a great option for a bite to eat with a friend, or with the children and the service is usually friendly and efficient.
I’ve had the Dough balls ‘Pizza Express’ and the Garlic bread with mozzarella plenty of times. Another of my favourites is the Bruschetta con funghi, served with béchamel sauce, red onions, chopped parsley and balsamic syrup. This time, I went for the one of the new menu items, Melanzanine; a mini al forno dish of layered aubergine, tomato passata, mozzarella, garlic, basil and Gran Moravia cheese. It was pretty indulgent, though the starter portion was fairly small, so I didn’t feel too bad. It had plenty of flavour, as it should do, with quite a big hit of garlic. I can never quite master this dish myself at home, so it’s always a treat to eat it out.
Katie tried the Leggera Gamberetti Piccante, which are prawns in a tomato passata sauce, with chilli flakes, garlic oil, spinach and santos tomatoes. This is highlighted as being under 210 calories – so a much healthier option. This starter is also marked as being gluten free. Incidentally, there are quite a few gluten free options on the menu.
Next, the main event, the Carbonara pizza I’d be waiting for. Being a Carbonara pizza, it’s missing the tomato sauce. Instead, you get a thin and crispy Romana Pizza, topped with a béchamel base,Pancetta, garlic oil, mozzarella and Gran Moravia cheese, with a free-range egg in the centre. My egg could have been a little softer in the middle, but the walk from the kitchen area to the atrium dining area at Westfield, London is quite a distance. So perhaps it had been soft when it was taken out of the oven…We shared a little broccolini (Tenderstem) with garlic butter and chilli on the side and were both beaten about half way through our mains.
Katie ordered another new menu item, the Melanzane, which has marinated aubergine and baby mozzarella on a spicy arrabbiata base with Gran Moravia cheese and fresh basil. Also quite full by this stage, there was half a pizza to take home to her vegetrian, firefighter husband.
After a brief interlude and a chat about life, family, children, blogging, freelancing and everything in between, we had a look at the dessert menu. Having a look usually means choosing something…
For me, their new Honeycomb cream slice, which is a bit like a cheesecake, with honeycomb and chocolate in a light cream, on a layer of salted caramel and crunchy biscuit. It tasted like a cheesecake to me and I could have eaten a second portion. I usually can’t say no to a slice of their chocolate fudge cake, warm, with cream and it takes a lot to sway me from that!