Pizza Express, Clifton Village: Review

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This piece comes from Sarah Harding, who blogs over at Bedsit Bonne Vivante. You can see Sarah’s reviews for Bristol Bites here.


It’s rare you will get me to go to Clifton Village for anything but Thali and visiting friends, but I was offered the chance to try the new menu at Pizza Express and it brought back a fond memory. A few years ago, girls’ night was nearly cancelled due to a restaurant booking mix up and at the last minute Pizza Express welcomed us, seated us and fed us. We left a hefty tip and headed to a pub around the corner which was leaking and awful, but that’s a review for another time…

Since “restaurant gate”, Pizza Express on Regent Street has had a bit of a makeover and become a lot more bright and airy than its past self. The kitchen is still open plan and to the right as you walk in, but it fails in providing an obvious “wait here to be seated” area. We ended up in one of those uncomfortable British lines where everyone stands around waiting to be served, hoping the person next to them respects the queuing system…

We were greeted by Kata and seated next to the front window where we were brought our beers. We decided, to start, to try the new Classic Italian Antipasto (£6.95) which was made up of Italian meats: finocchiona, coppa, Milano salami and spicy Calabrese sausage, along with olives, marinated aubergine, roasted tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, sweet Peppadew peppers and flatbread. This came with garlic butter and a harissa and tomato dip. There wasn’t enough garlic in the butter for me, but we both went mad for the harissa dip. It was presented very nicely and was enough for a nibble between two if you weren’t starving. We also ordered the calamari (£5.75) which was a good portion. The Caesar dressing it came with was really good and the squid itself wasn’t too rubbery, with a good crunchy coating.


Pizza Express Clifton Village - Classic Italian Antipasto


For main we both went for pizza. I chose their new Hawaiian pizza (£12.25) and he had the Calabrese (12.95). The Hawaiian wasn’t a traditional take, which I liked. It came on a béchamel base and instead of pineapple chunks they used a sweet chilli and pineapple chutney. I did miss having the chunks but the chutney, which in fairness was more of a purée, was very strong in flavour and I really liked it. The prosciutto was good and salty and, along with the onion, provided a nice crunchy texture.


Pizza Express Clifton Village - Hawaiian Pizza


My partner’s Calabrese came with ‘nduja sausage and Calabrese sausage, fresh red chilli, Roquito peppers, roasted red and yellow peppers, mozzarella and tomato, rocket, pesto and Gran Milano cheese. It was a grand size, nice and spicy, and had plenty of meat on it to keep him happy. Both pizzas were served looking really appetising, piping hot, and we were offered a box at the end for our leftovers.


Pizza Express Clifton Village - Calabrese Pizza


We also ordered the polenta chips (£3.95) I wasn’t keen on them, the texture inside was quite grainy and lacked much in the way of taste. There was no salt on the table so I couldn’t save them with seasoning either. The honey and mustard dip went nicely with my pizza, though.


Pizza Express Clifton Village - Polenta Chips


For dessert I tried the new Passionate Mess (£5.45), which they sell as a twist on Eton Mess with passion fruit, but in reality was a cheesecake with meringue on top. It was actually pretty good: I ordered it with a side of mascarpone which went well. It was let down by soggy meringue on top but the passion fruit topping was nice and fruity without being horribly sweet.


Pizza Express Clifton Village - Passionate Mess


All in all, the meal hit the mark. Everything was served with a smile and all looked and tasted great. The cost was very reasonable and there were plenty of families in enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. For me, it’s a reliable choice for a decent meal out.


Please note: our meal was received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.


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