Tuesday, May 6

Express Yourself

The other week a little email popped into my inbox from a charming man called Alex offering me a 'well deserved break from university'. Anyone who starts an email with "Lovely to e-meet you!" is instantly in my good books, regardless of the rest of the email content.
Anyway, PizzaExpress has just launched its new 'quick, tasty and great value' lunch menu and kindly asked me along to give it a review.
With my house mate Jenny in tow, we skipped on down to Leeds City Centre, giddy with excitement and rumbling stomachs.

With some sun soaked window seats, we flopped on back, put our feet up and watched the general public flutter on past our window.

The charming waiters had put us in a cracking mood and Jenny and I were having way too much fun deciding summer plans and having a good old catch up to really realise the time flickering by.

We asked our smiley waiter what he'd recommend as we were pretty easy going and too overwhelmed with choice, but after eyeing up the menu and drooling constantly for a few minutes, we settled on one dish from each section. You've got to spread around the flavour variations and all that jazz.  

This b.e.a.utiful sight was presented before our eyes.
As you can tell, I was ready and rearing to go!

First up, their Leggera Superfood Salad: baby spinach and seasonal mixed leaves, roasted butternut squash, beetroot, light baby mozzarella, avocado, pine kernels, cucumber, lentils and fresh basil, finished with balsamic syrup. (At under 300 calories too, it's the perfect light lunch on the go.) 

It was such a tasty, light addition to the meal. I'm a huge fan of avocado and butternut squash,  especially in salads, so this was a winning combination from the start.

Round two: Their new 'Piadina'. 
The bread itself is their famous dough, baked with Gran Moravia cheese, sliced and filled with your some fresh fillings. After much deliberation, we chose the Italian Meat: Cured Italian meats: Finocchiona, Milano and Coppa with light mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, pesto, rocket and extra virgin olive oil.

Utterly delicious. The bread was crispy on the outside but with a light fluffiness within and was beautiful when soaked in the pesto. 
It was such a classic Mediterranean style dish that was packed full of meaty flavour and was just the right size for a delicious lunch break.

Our plates were piled up high and slowly but surely, every last bite was being readily devoured. 

But, even though the piadina and salad were pretty incredible, the pizza stole the show. Now I'm a big pizza fan. I didn't used to have it often, it's one of those cheeky treats I'd only eat every now and again as who doesn't love molten cheese and carbs?!
This self inflicted pizza eating limitation ended when I fell in love with PizzaExpress' Leggera pizzas (the thin based ones with a hole in the middle.) A skinny, cheats version that didn't sacrifice on flavour for a lower calorie content. 
So, when their new lunch range boasted a thin crusted pizza that was strong in flavour, good value and (I checked) not breaking the calorie bank, I was ecstatic. 

Since Jenny & I had plumped for their Italian Meat based piadina, we thought the veggie pizza would be the best way to go.

Best decision ever. 
Our Padana was smothered in goat's cheese, mozzarella, tomato, caramelised onions, spinach, red onion and garlic oil.

I wolfed down my two huge slices in minutes. The base wasn't too crispy (just how I like it), the flavours packed a punch and the caramelised onion and goat's cheese combination was utter heaven.

Nursing our food comas, we were convinced that we could not manage another tiny morsel...
That was until we saw their dessert menu.
Mini puddings and a coffee? Well, it would be rude to say no.

We halved the mini chocolate fudge cake and the raspberry sorbet. One light. One indulgent. 

Just the right, manageable size after scoffing our faces full of pizza. The fudge cake was moist, thick and (unsurprisingly) very chocolately.
When smothered with a little bit of raspberry sorbet too, it was delightful.

So thank you very much PizzaExpress for inviting Jenny & I along to sample your new 'Express Lunch Menu.' It was (hand on heart) utterly, utterly delicious. Your staff were friendly, helpful and were great company by enjoying a good giggle or two. 

The other excellent thing that I should point out about this menu too, is the price. Most of the people reading this will know PizzaExpress already, you'll know their good food quality and know the sorts of yummy food that they provide. But the big tick for me, (especially being student) is the reasonable price.
Each of the pizzas, piadinas and salads are close to £5 and considering the cost of most high street lunch stopoff's, there isn't much difference between the two. Whilst before I would never have thought of popping into somewhere like PizzaExpress for a shopping spree lunch break, believing that it would be too pricey for a quick fix, I've been proven wrong. Happily wrong.

 Feel free to check out their menu:



  1. This meal looked so yummy, that pizza is right up my street.


  2. These photos are just too much! It's 11 am and I'm already dreaming about lunch. The salad looks amazing, but let's be honest, the pizza is the real winner here!

    xxx Anne

  3. I love piadinas! They're my favourite part of Italian cuisine (bold statement I know). I'm so happy I'll still be able to get a fix when I go back to uni next year! Really lovely photos, it's a great post xxx
    La Lingua : Food, Life, Love, Travel, Friends, Italy

  4. I tried out this menu too, it's perfect isn't it?! Love your pictures!


  5. I ended up in a pizza express a couple of weeks ago for a hungover lunch during my work day. Anyway - I always slate my friends for going as it's a chain blahblahblah but it was actually amazing... this new menu looks great too although I suspect my taste card won't work for it? x m


  6. Oh wow Emily... all that looks so so incredible!
    I do love a good meal, especially if there is pizza involved!! Haven't been to Pizza Express in ages.. guess it'll have to wait till I return to London!

    {Teffy's Perks} X

  7. Ah Emily this looks so delicious! I am not a fan of pizza at all but I've had the goats cheese and caramelised onion one before and that could totally change my whole view on pizza! It all looks amazing.

    BTW, did you get a new lens? Your close-up shots of the food are amazing! My camera has a mini heart attack if I ever get too close to things!

    Katie <3


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