Autumn Menu at Pizza Express Reading:
One day a week at the moment, I work in Reading. And, since I get home to London rather late, I enjoy going for a meal on the way home. I’m busy exploring the restaurants in Reading – Giraffe and Zero Degrees for example. I’m trying both independent restaurants and chains that I know and love from London.
Pizza Express, of course, falls firmly into the latter camp – I must have been to at least 15 different Pizza Express branches and at one point in my life I went to the Fulham Palace Road branch at least once every fortnight.
It is a group which has changed radically since I first started to eat there. But in those days there were few options for eating out – and some of the original Pizza Express branches also had Jazz evenings. For a penniless new graduate, they were a great option! I always liked the pizzas there – thin crust and freshly baked. And, that part at least of Pizza Express hasn’t changed at all. What has changed is that there are more pizza options – different bases and toppings too. And, there are some very special dessert options too.
In the old days, I would never have dreamt of starting a meal with anything other than dough balls. But that part of Pizza Express has changed too – there’s a lot more on the menu to chose from. So, this time we both indulged in some rather excellent alternatives.
The Arancini with ‘Njuda is a seasonal special comprising risotto balls filled with spicy ‘njuda sausage and mozzarella cheese, served with a dollop of fresh pesto on the side. Delicious.
Classic Italian Antipasto is a mix of delicious cured Italian meats – Finnocional, Coppa, Milano Salami and Calabrese sausage served with olives, artichoke, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella pepperdew peppers and a kind of cheesy flatbread with Gran Milano. If that’s not enough there’s garlic butter and pestorissa (spicy tomato dip) too. We ordered the single portion and came to the conclusion that there would have been plenty for two as a starter, though a larger portion is available for the very hungry.
We had ordered pizza too of course.
For me, the seasonal special, in Romana form, the Campana special. For those who are curious, a Romana pizza is big enough for two. We ended up taking half of each pizza home with us. Despite the fact that it was really very tasty. Crumbled pork and fennel sausage, friarelli (a kind of broccoli-type green vegetable), tomato, garlic oil and mozzarella finished with Gran Milano cheese and parsley. I loved the fennel notes and would definitely order this one again. A real taste of autumn.
My companion opted for the classic Soho 65, which is meant to be a vegetarian pizza, with mozzarella and tomato, black olives, garlic oil and rocket. But, you can add a finish of cured Italian meats to any of the pizzas on the menu which is exactly what he rather perversely opted to do:)
One of the Pizza Express developments I particularly like is the introduction of what appears on the menu as dolcetti – tiny portions of dessert served with a tea or coffee to round off your meal. I normally order the Caffe Reale figs in a cinnamon and white wine spiced syrup served on top of a fluffy mound of mascarpone. My companion went for that option, with a classic espresso coffee
Meanwhile, I wasn’t disappointed by the special Lotus Biscoff Cheesecake which is exactly as it sounds, two Lotus biscuits used to sandwich a cheesecake mixture.
We were a little disappointed that the special Espresso Martini had already run out. And, next time, if it’s still on the menu we will definitely be trying it.
I have always loved Pizza Express. It’s somewhere that never lets me down and a place I’m more than happy to meet friends. And, the seasonal menu is a great option for anyone who eats there often and wants a little variety – in addition to being very tasty.
We dined as guests of Pizza Express
R11 Riverside Level,
Oracle Shopping Centre,
Reading RG1 2AG