pizza express dough balls - but not as you know them. established in the sixties, the popular italian inspired restaurant chain has definitely stepped it up a notch in their latest menu, new for spring 2014.
with some fabulous new offerings as well as meat free monday and gluten free alternatives, it seems pizza express is really reacting well to a diverse range of dietary requirements, quite rightly so :) i went along to try the new menu at the pizza express in highcross, actually one of three in the city.
the newest of the three restaurants, which used to be leicester's la tasca, the whole look and feel of the interior is still very lovely and new. of course with the signature navy and white details and well known open kitchen.
to start, we went for the new dough balls doppio, a double portion of their famous dough balls served with a trio of dips: pesto, garlic butter and n’duja, an italian favourite of spicy softened sausage and olive oil. with the added touch of the italian flag colours, this start was anything but a gimmick. cool pesto, fresh garlic and spicy sausage were the perfect combination for a fun, dipping starter.
having had a phase of always having these to start, i think we can all agree too much of something good is a bad thing. so i very nearly went for the rosemary oven baked fondue style taleggio cheese - something i will still be going back for if not trying to create myself. i have to say i have no regrets in revisting an old faithful (with a twist) either.
everyone has a "usual" at pizza express, don't they? mine is la reine. i just love having delicious and crispy ham on a pizza without the ghastly pineapple and instead with creamy mozzarella and flavoursome mushrooms. in your face hawaiian! to be honest i always seem to order the veggie pizzas and then get an extra of ham on top.
for main, my boyfriend had the cheese sensation which is quattro formaggi, with taleggio, mozzarella, goat’s cheese and gran moravia. this was technically new on the menu as it has been brought back by popular demand. can definitely see why! also, we were told that funny little olive was to differentiate it from the classic margarita.
seemingly both in a meat free mood, i went for the new in lasagne verde from the pasta al forno section. this comprised of chargrilled vegetables, chopped capers and olives, roasted peppers, mozzarella, béchamel and passata layered with green spinach pasta and baked with arrabbiata sauce and gran moravia cheese.
it was truly lovely and tasted very homemade. the only thing is i definitely didn't taste the bitterness of the capers or see any olives, and i was hoping for the spinach lasgane to look super green. i can only imagine that baking olives and capers takes away their distinct flavour - maybe a good thing or not?
to finish, i think it's great when restaurants offer a menu of miniature desserts along with a choice of coffee. sometimes all you need to end a meal is a tiny taste of something sweet. even better, i really wanted a dessert whilst the mister fancied a coffee.
so i went for the double chocolate espresso torta rich, a creamy chocolate and espresso ganache on a chocolate biscuit base, whilst he slurped on an actual double expresso. perfecto!
what's your usual? why not see what you fancy on the new menu at your local pizza express? ♥
note: i was invited for a complementary meal to review the new menu. opinions are always my own.