Pizza. Our trusty friend. When you’re hankering after a good pizza, nothing else will suffice. And whatever else I think of chain restaurants, if they serve me up a decent pizza and a glass of wine or two, I have to admit I am easily won over. When I was invited to try the brand new Pizza Express on Moseley High Street, I was aware that this opening would likely be unpopular with local foodies, but I decided to take the restaurant on its own terms. If Pizza Express can give me everything I want from a mid-range meal out – good food, good value, good atmosphere and good service – then shoot me, I’m a fan of Pizza Express. Read on to find out if the new Moseley branch ticked all of these boxes…
The new restaurant has a laid back, funky feel – more of a family and friends vibe than a romantic date spot. Our server, Mya, was attentive and very friendly, and again added to the relaxed, informal feeling of the place. Throughout the evening everything was served promptly, but we were given plenty of time to nibble on some olives and choose from the menu. The menu is vast, and there is plenty of choice for vegetarians and coeliacs.
To start, Jack went for the ‘Bruschetta Originale’, topped with fresh tomato, basil, pesto and onions. Though he was surprised to find the bruschetta was doughy bread rather than the traditional crispy toast, it was still a great start to our Italian feast. The bread had been brushed in garlic butter, and the classic combination of toppings really hit the spot. I went for the calamari, which was fluffy and light and served simply with ceasar dressing and lemon. If we were wondering whether Pizza Express could get the basics right, then these starters assured us they could!
Onto the pizzas. Jack opted for Melanzane which was topped with marinated aubergine, mozzarella, tomato, chilli and fresh basil. Though a simple dish, it ticked all the boxes of a good pizza; a thin, crispy base, generous toppings and a good combination of flavours. Though aubergine is often overlooked as a star veg, on this pizza it was perfect. I went for the fiorentina: spinach, mozzarella, tomato, black olives and a free range egg. The egg was cooked to perfection and the rich yoke helped lift the supporting spinach. Though these pizzas were bang on with the flavours, their thin-ness means that they go cold fairly quickly – a problem we couldn’t help but think would be solved if they were served on hot plates!
Finally, we somehow found room for dessert (because, you know, we’re such troopers). Unfortunately, the restaurant didn’t have either of our first choices available, which was somewhat disappointing. The dessert menu is a large one though, so it wasn’t hard to find something else we both fancied. Jack opted for the chocolate brownie, which, though nothing special, was rich and had the gooey texture of a good brownie (is there anything worse than the chocolate-sponge-cake sham of a brownie?). I ordered tiramisu, which had a gorgeous subtle flavour and tasted both indulgent and light at the same time, and was presented beautifully.
Overall, though the new Pizza Express in Mosesley was never going to be anything out of this world – we left having had a really nice experience. The food was delicious and the genuinely friendly service saved it from that impersonal feeling that is sometimes felt in large chains. I would certainly think of Pizza Express again when looking for a safe bet of somewhere decent to eat out. Thanks to Molly and everyone at Pizza Express for having us!