You’ll know Pizza Express, they’re a well-established pizza chain that focuses on Italian-style pizza: thin bases and interesting toppings; pizzas that don’t swim in cheese. The company has quite a following and even have a range of pizzas and dough balls that sell through supermarkets. For Spring 2014, Pizza Express has a new menu and has also launched an Express Lunch menu. I went to investigate.
Pizza Express’ Express Lunch menu offers a range of tasty, lunch-sized dishes at good prices. For those of you who like sandwiches, there are piadino, pizza dough pockets stuffed with with fillings like Italian cold cuts or mozzarella. There are also pizzas, scaled down to stop you from getting too full, salads, or, for something really light, soup. For hungry days there are sides: add polenta chips, or rocket salad to your meal. Prices start at £3.45 for soup and go up to £5.95 for pizza Pollo ad Astra.
Pizza Express Quensferry Street is my closest Pizza Express. When I worked in the West End I regularly ate lunch or dinner there. It was nice to come back and visit. We sat towards the back, in the sunny conservatory and smiled at people passing, wrapped up in coats and scarves. It was that kind of Edinburgh spring day: lovely and warm behind a sheet of glass, cold and windy outside. I like a sit-down lunch. I’ve had hundreds of sandwich-at-my-desk lunches in my time but I much prefer soup, salad or even yesterday’s left-overs at a table. When you work in an office it can be difficult to fit cooked food into a lunch hour and it can be difficult to find a table to have it at.
The idea behind Pizza Express’ Express Lunch is that you should have time to get away from your desk, eat lunch and get back without stretching lunch too far. It works: we were in the restaurant 40 minutes and in that time we ordered, ate and had coffee.
I was torn between the salad Nicoise and the meat piadino. After swithering for a couple of minutes and complicating the choice by adding pizza La Reine to the mix, I went for the piadino. It was a bread pocket covered with crunchy melted cheese and stuffed full with salad, mozzarella, Coppa, Finocchiona salami, Milano salami and pesto. It was fresh, tasty and very filling.
C. had a good range of dishes to choose from: there are several vegetarian options on the menu, as well as gluten-free and light options. C’s final decision was a Veneziana (minus sultanas). The smaller size is perfect for lunch.
Getting out of the office is good for you. Take a friend, get out and recharge mental and physical batteries alike with some lunch. At Pizza Express they’ll make sure you are fed and watered quickly and with food that doesn’t make you fall asleep at your desk in the afternoon.
I ate at:
32 Queensferry Street
Edinburgh, EH2 4QS
Phone: 0131 225 8863