Sometimes all you want is a pizza. Unless you have a 2 for 1 voucher for Pizza Express, in which case all you want is two pizzas.
With this in mind, some workmates and I made a beeline for Pizza Express in St Bride Street, Blackfriars. Allegedly set over six floors (we only saw three), we pootled in only to be "greeted" by a front of house who frankly looked aghast that we'd dared enter. I fleetingly wondered if we'd got the wrong door and had accidently walked into her living room, but then she grumpily asked how many we were and ran off. After a bit, we figured we should follow her and yes, she did have a table ready for us.
We decided that gluttony was the way forward and therefore ordered a pizza each, plus two further main courses of a salad (healthy-ish) and Melanzane Parmigiana (decidedly unhealthy).
Workmate 1 has a dairy intolerance but loves pizza anyway, so requested that her American be made without cheese. Our waitress looked taken aback but at least didn't treat her like a freak. However, the thing that subsequently appeared was so sad-looking that I laughed like a donkey for about a minute. She didn't seem particularly impressed with it either.
Even less impressive was the garlic bread she'd ordered, which was basically a stunted pizza in search of a topping - she'd expected baguettey goodness.
It made me laugh even more than her pizza - I can be quite mean sometimes.
Workmate 2 had the Diavolo and was pretty happy with its spicy topping of beef, pepperoni, onions, Tabasco, and jalapeno peppers.
Workmate 3 had the veggie option of Funghi di Bosco with Portobello mushrooms and was also pleased with her choice.
I toyed with getting a Leggera but then decided it was damn foolishness to get a pizza with the best part missing, so eventually plumped for the Capricciosa - basically ham and egg pizza.
Unfortunately I hadn't read the description properly, and was rather put out that instead of a lush fried egg to ooze yolkily over crusty goodness, it was adorned with some hard-boiled egg quarters. They were weird. I'd also missed the fact that there was cooked red pepper involved - the one thing guaranteed to make me belch like a frog.
The bubbling Melanzane Parmigiana hit the spot however - it was deliciously rich and cheesey, though a tad stingy with the aubergine.
The Bosco Salad was just as tasty and made up for any parsimony with oodles of garlic mushrooms, mozzarella, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, baby spinach and rocket.
It also came garnished with more planks of "garlic bread" which we didn't bother with.
The restaurant itself is clattery and noisy and the multi-level design doesn't help with the acoustics, but the food was mainly good, and quick and cheap with it. Admittedly, the waitresses were a little shirty with us, but I find that's often the case when you come clutching discount vouchers.
Whilst staring up at the topmost floor, we also discovered the oddest thing. Someone, somewhere had thought it a good idea to mount a bride made out of chicken wire to the central pillar.
I guess she's meant to be throwing her bouquet for the next lucky girl, but it looks more like Ms Haunted Mansion is pleading for her soul. I don't think any of us had seen a creepier piece of interior design in our lives.
Pizza Express at St Bride Street - worth visiting just to stare at the freaky decor.
7/9 St Bride Street
020 7583 5126