A couple of weeks ago we were invited to do a vegetarian family meal review at our local Pizza Express. Not a hard sell with the kids who simply love to go there. The timing was perfect as our eldest, fresh from a week of SATS tests, was keen to relax with one of his favourite foods, pizza!
Whenever we look for an easy family evening out, Pizza Express is always at the top of our list. The child-friendly atmosphere and good quality food ensures there will be no drama. A must for us, especially at the end of a busy week.
The children really enjoy watching the pizza being made in the open kitchen. At £6.95, the kids menu is pretty good value and includes 3-courses chosen from baked dough balls and side salad / pizza, pasta or salad / dessert and Bambinoccino.
In the past, we even had some (very noisy and fun) pizza-making kids’ birthday parties organised here. With pizza it is hard to go wrong.
While our 11-year old was all for a vegetarian pizza, our 8-year old took some convincing. “Can it be vegetarian with pepperoni please?” In the end, she compromised with extra dough balls and olives against meat. Everyone was happy.
If you are looking for meat-free dishes, there are quite a few options suitable for vegetarians on the menu: 8 pizzas, 2 pasta dishes and a host of appetisers and side dishes along with one salad. Only one vegan option is clearly marked, the Vegan Giardinieria which I reviewed here last year after it was launched.
For the sake of a balanced review, I would have liked to have been able to order a wider variety of dishes. But annoyingly, in spite of dining early at 7pm the vegetarian rigatoni pasta was already sold out.
The childen’s margarita above (without pepperoni 🙂 ) was well received.
Graham picked a Vegetarian Veneziana (Pine kernels, red onion, baby capers, black olives, sultanas, mozzarella and tomato).
Zac was hungry enough for a large adult size Vegetarian Margherita Bufala (Buﬀalo mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil, fresh tomato, garlic oil, oregano, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil).
And having enjoyed it the first time around , I opted for a Vegan Giardiniera (artichoke, closed cup mushroom, red onion and black olives, with tomato, vegan mozzarella alternative and garlic oil, finished with fresh parsley).
The standard of pizzas at Pizza Express is generally good and these did not disappoint, even though I felt that my Vegan Giardiniera was not as flavoursome as I remembered. The vegan cheese on top though is fantastic. Nothing rubbery or with a coconut aftertaste. I honestly cannot tell the difference from dairy cheese.
If you are looking for more plant-based choice, Pizza Express is always keen on accommodating vegan options if possible. The pizza base and passata are vegan for all pizzas. Toppings can be customised or swapped upon request and all pizzas can be made with a vegan and dairy-free mozzarella alternative. What’s more is that these options are not only available in the restaurants but also for orders for collection or home delivery.
While I was too full for dessert, the rest of my family is without exception always ready for something sweet. Whereas the food is mostly Italian, Pizza Express mixes different influences for desserts from Italy, France, UK and USA. The scrumptious Vanilla Cheesecake, Honeycomb Cream Slice and a Kid’s Chocolate Brownie with Bambinoccino disappeared in no time.
Unfortunately, if you are looking for a plant-based dessert, your vegan options are still solely limited to one sorbet in either coconut or raspberry flavour. This is a bit of a missed opportunity for Pizza Express as they could easily add a vegan brownie, chocolate cake etc.. There are plenty of possibilities these days beyond sorbet.
We had a really satisfying vegetarian family meal at Pizza Express and the absence of pepperoni was quickly forgotten by Maya who came out raving about her Margarita. This is the way I like to end a meal. Happy children make happy parents.
If you fancy an enjoyable family evening out, I recommend you check out your local Pizza Express. They have many locations around the UK which you can find more about on their website.
Don’t forget that if you prefer staying in, they also do collection or home delivery orders. Buon Appetito.
Disclaimer: we were invited for dinner by Pizza Express. My comments and review remain our own and are completely honest.