Pizza Express, Touchwood
IT’S a mystery to me why it took so long for Pizza Express to come to Solihull.
The well-known chain, which favours an Italian rather than an American approach to the pizza, would seem to have been tailor-made for a place like Solihull.
Anyway, arrived it has and it’s located in one of the town centre’s plum spots on the upper level of Touchwood overlooking Jubilee Gardens.
I must confess, I’ve always been a fan of Pizza Express.
Quite how authentically Italian its pizzas are might be a matter for debate but it has certainly proved to be a winning formula.
One of the good things about Pizza Express though is that it doesn’t stand still and is continually updating and adding to its menu to maximise variety.
On this visit my wife and I both went for some of the newer additions to the menu.
She tried a Mare E Monti (£9.25) - one of the new range of leggera or light pizzas.
Part of the dough has been replaced with a healthy salad option, meaning the dish is around 500 calories.
It may be one for those watching the pounds but there was no compromising when it came to taste.
A mixture of king prawns, mushrooms, red onions and olives with light mozzarella, cajun spice, oregano and parsley made for a wonderful blend and was enthusiastically devoured in a flash.
My Calebrese (£10.95) was probably the best pizza I have ever had at a Pizza Express restaurant which is praise indeed as I’ve had a fair few.
It is one of a quartet of dishes on the menu devised by Francesco Mazzei and is billed as the chain’s hottest pizza yet.
That in itself was enough of a challenge for me to take the plunge, though I also liked the sound of its ingredients.
It’s a rectangular pizza topped with Calabrese sausage, green chillies, roquito peppers and hot soft sausage topped with raw rather than cooked mozzarella, watercress, basil pesto, oregano and grana padano.
Quite a concoction but a truly delicious combination and it really lived up to its fiery tag too.
I enjoyed every mouthful but midway through I did start to perspire, while my wife remarked that I had gone an alarming shade of red all of a sudden.
Our youngsters enjoyed the well-thought out children’s menu (£6.10), with dough balls and a small salad to start followed by a pizza of their own choice - one opted for mushroom and the other pepperoni.
Their ice cream dessert was accompanied by a frothy milk bambinoccino while my wife and I shared a most delectable portion of tiramisu.
All in all a most enjoyable visit and the sort of family meal out that offers good quality food at a price that won’t break the bank.