“PIZZA EXPRESS?!” my Mum coos down the phone. “Oooo! You know I LOVE Pizza Express!” and quite frankly, she speaks for all of us there.
So we nipped along to the lovely Hitchin restaurant, our local, if you like; it’s right on the corner of the square on a lovely old little street in this great Hertfordshire town. We’ve been a few times since moving here and we’ve always had great service there – but this is an established chain, and they have things like that down pat from the off.
Our kids are pretty well-behaved when eating out luckily – but here, they think of everything to make it easier for you as a parent and make your kids feel welcome. They don’t roll their eyes if your children get up, or call out and honestly, in today’s society of roly-eyes-ahoy when any child behaves, well, like a child for God’s sake, Pizza Express is like a shining sanctuary on the high street. That’s not to say that I’ve ever seen an obnoxious child in there either. No doubt, because Pizza Express realise that children get easily bored waiting for their dinner to arrive, and get itchy pants when the grown ups get all boring and stop playing I-spy and talk about something serious – so they provide STICKERS, and crayons and a whole hat to decorate. WIN: I get to drink more wine and actually chat to my husband, a fairly rare occurrence when eating out as a family.
In the loos there’s not only the standard change mat, but it’s properly padded, and a basket of nappies, wipes and bags is provided alongside for your darling’s botty delectation. And a mobile, to keep them distracted long enough that they don’t roll off the table when you turn to put the dirties in the bin. ANOTHER WIN: I can take a handbag instead of lugging the change bag everywhere.
Anyway, onto the food.. and it doesn’t disappoint. The summer menu is packed with ‘cooler’ style drinks, a gorgeous Barbacoa Beef Romana, and JOY OF JOY: they have added Hawaiian the menu (Apparently, they’ve never done this before because Hawaiian pizzas are not TRAD ITALIAN – don’t worry, I didn’t have a clue about that either). A great inclusion is my favourite starter of all time (so imagine my glee): melon and prosciutto. The watermelon, strawberry and mint is bloody lovely, for the record, so definitely consider that. But there’s loads here to choose for the kids as well. Their menu gives options for the pickiest eater and pickiest parent; it’s as easy to do the whole healthy routine here as it is to delve into the cheese and chocolate and ice cream.
With the kids bouncing around on the sofa behind us in their newly decorated hats, our food arrives quickly; Lasagne (there’s always one), Calabrese and a Hawaiian ‘Pizza Express’, with pineapple chutney – who’d have thought! We’d ordered the kids spaghetti, and margarita pizza, which they half and half because they can never decide between pizza or pasta between them. They come at the same time; there’s nothing worse than children who have finished their dinner whilst you are still half-way through your own. And the Eton Mess Cheesecake is to DIE FOR, so you must try that, when you go.
All great stuff, delicious and we sit like mini Buddhas, very full and very happy sipping on coffees at the end, kids chattering between themselves over their chocolate brownies and babyccinos and our left-over pizza waiting in the box for a late night snack. Late Night WIN.
My mother is as right as she ever was: We all love Pizza Express!
Find your nearest restaurant here: www.pizzaexpress.com
DISCLAIMER: We were invited as guests of Pizza Express, but as ever, we review any experience on The Motherload® as truthfully as possible, in keeping with our ethos.