Sunday, 5 July 2009

Pizza Express, Blackfriars (Restaurant Review)


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.

Pizza Express
7/9 St Bride Street
020 7583 5126

Pizza Express on Urbanspoon


  1. Very interesting to see a chain reviewed - they're often spared us. Good job...

  2. Man that wire sculpture is creeepy!
    You're tagged for a meme btw if you accept to take the challenge..
    10 Photos :)

  3. Hey Meem
    I went to a PE restaurant recently... hadn't been for some time and I really enjoyed it.
    Friend and I shared a slate with charcuterie and olives and mozarella and rocket as a starter.
    We both enjoyed our pizzas.
    And best of all, they have this fantastic idea I wish more places would adopt - if you're too full for dessert, you can have coffee and mini desserts instead.
    The best thing bar none on the PE menu is their baby figs in syrup with mascarpone and these are available as mini desserts with coffee. Perfect!

    Am meeting 9 girlfriends for lunch next week and we've booked a PE near Euston, where some of them will be coming in to London.

    I think it'll be a good choice.

  4. That is, indeed, terrifying!

    I really like Pizza Express as a chain, especially when they have their two for one vouchers. However, I've never experienced such consistently bad service as in the Langham Place branch. I actually hasd a stare-down with a waitress before she conceeded.

  5. That sculpture looks like something straight out of the Silent Hill series! Wouldn't want to be the one sweeping up late at night after everyone else's left...

  6. Is it wrong of me to have a slight weakness for the occasional Pizza Express giadiniera? I know it's a chain, I know it's not 'proper' pizza, I hate myself! (I like those dough balls too, esp with the pot of butter for dunking). Last couple of experiences have been too salty and too greasy though, disappointing.

    Top tip for the Londoners - try Pizza at Home on Old Brompton Road near Earls Court. AMAZING pizzas, best I've had outside Italy, and pretty darn cheap too. This was Raymond Blanc's take away of choice while he was demming at the Ideal Home Show with us recently :)

  7. That sculpture is scary....I wouldn't want to be eating a pizza that looks like someone bled all over it under that! spooky....

  8. @Douglas - I'm poor and I like pizza ;)

    @Dennis K - My first meme! I've no idea how to pronounce it but I'll take you up on that challenge!

    @Kavey - Pizza Express is generally a safe bet - the abuse isn't too bad when you get nice, cheap food. Have a wicked time!

    @Lizzie - Making a mental note to avoid Langham Place ...

    @Alex - Never played Silent Hill - more into Resident Evil :)

    @Louise - Shameless namedropper :)

    @KirkK - I bet it comes to life at night and floats around ...


Thanks for taking the time to comment!