An Express Trip to Pizza Express.

On the auspicious day of Janmashtmi, when most were working, my friend had an off from her office and so I decided to take up on the invite for lunch at Pizza Express, Andheri West. Now, this wasn’t the first time either of us were visiting this UK based restaurant, but it was the first time after the new additions in their menu and to this particular outlet.

There is this thing about the ambience of Pizza Express, it changes according to the location. The restaurant located in Powai has the feel of Powai Lake in their ambience; one in Thane has a feel of railways because of the first railway line that was set up in our country. Similarly, the outlet in Andheri West has a feel of industries.

At first I thought it was because of the latest trend that restaurants are following of giving the rusty look, but actually, this has an industrial look because there were many industries around the vicinity explained Saurabh, the manager of the restaurant. In spite of having different ambience, the setup in all Pizza Express remain the same, checked floors, open kitchen and the table setup with their iconic blue glasses. This casual fine dining gives a proper feel of fine dining.

We were starving, called for an appetizer called Dough Balls. There are two variants of this particular item, one is, eight pieces of dough balls served with garlic butter and one is, sixteen pieces of it with three types of dips- garlic butter, crushed sun dried tomatoes and crushed basil in olive oil. I asked if it was possible for him to serve eight pieces of dough balls with the three dips, and he agreed. And I am so glad he did! Garlic butter with dough ball is good, but the butter can more garlicky, the crushed sun dried tomatoes gives the perfect tangy taste and the best of three, crushed basil. It has the right amount of garlic blended in basil, which completely makes up for less garlicky butter.

Along with this, we called for two drinks from their Home Drinks section. A Ginger Fresca and Sunrise Iced Tea. Ginger Fresca was a suggestion from our server Karthik. My only complaint was that it was sweeter than I imagined it to be, but the sweetness is required to subtle the taste of ginger. Sunrise Iced Tea, promises a fruit party in your mouth. The combination of orange, pineapple and fresh mint mixes well, but gives more of a pineapple taste in the beginning.

Without wasting any time, we called for our main course, a pizza and pasta. I’m not a pizza person but what is the whole point of going to Pizza Express and then not eat a pizza. Soho 65, new addition in their menu is one of the two vegetarian additions to the menu. Topping of Emilgrana, Rocket and Buffalo Mozzarella, looks raw, but that’s what you need when your pizza is so perfectly baked. Quite honestly, I did not require the taste enhancers provided by them to enjoy the pizza, but like the name suggests, taste enhancers enhanced the taste of the pizza to a new level and made me fall in love with pizza.

Next up, Penne con peppadew, their speciality in pastas. The new menu does not have any new vegetarian addition to the pasta section, so we went for their speciality. It gives the taste of everything that is mentioned under the name of the dish. The tangy-sweet taste, vegetables and garnishing of seasoned parsley and emilgrana. If you don’t like spicy food, this pasta item is meant for you.

We were full; one more bite of pasta could have lead to an explosion, so I asked Karthik to pack the left over and looked at the dessert menu. My stomach was full, but we all know desserts find their place in our heart. Quickly we looked over the dessert menu and we were thrilled to find three vegetarian options in the new additions, Blueberry Semi Freddo, Chocolate & Hazelnut Semi Freddo and Rasberry Sorbet. Because I’m not a fan of sorbets, I went for Blueberry Semi Freddo and Banoffee Pie, not a new addition, but because ‘Banana-Toffee Pie’, the name is interesting in itself.

Blueberry Semi Freddo has a biscuit base, isn’t too thick or thin; too hard or soft, all in all it has the perfect biscuit base. It gives you the authentic taste of cream cheese with amazing blueberry gelato covering the vanilla sponge cake and blueberry jam and delicious blueberry syrup on the side. Banoffee Pie that has layers of banana and toffee pie on a biscuit base with cream cheese topped with crushed toffee is served with your choice of cream, gelato or mascarpone. Right after indulging the first bite of the pie, I got a sense of what heaven must look like. The combination of banana and toffee blended together, with the accurate biscuit base and gelato on side, melts in your mouth and gives a food orgasm in the mouth. Even my words won’t do justice to Banoffee Pie.

The head chef, Vaibhav was kind enough to sit and have a quick chat with me so as to give an idea of what happens in the kitchen of Pizza Express and discussed about the new additions and upcoming additions to the menu.

I know I am going to visit this place again, not only for its food, but also for the hospitality. And I might just order three portions of Dough Balls with basil dip and three portions of Banana Pie for my next few visits.

Cheers and Bon Appetite.

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