IS BY FAR ONE OF THE VERY BEST
There’s little doubt that the new Pizza Express situated in the Leeds Arena Quarter is the smartest pizza restaurant in town!
Looking out over Merrion Way its floor to ceiling windows make it a light and airy place and there’s comfortable alfresco seating when the temperature rises.
The décor of this new Pizza Express says it all. It’s smart and cool. The wooden tiles of varying shades on the walls are interspersed with plants and grass giving an artistic feel to the décor. But what sets this restaurant apart is the many different types of seating areas.
You can have your own private space in a booth, sit and watch the world go by through the large windows at a contemporary table, dine alfresco, sit on high stools near the bar the choice is endless.
We decided to sit near the large windows and whilst we browsed over the menu we ordered a cocktail and some marinated green olives. For at Pizza Express its not just all about pizzas. They dispense handcrafted cocktails and a great selection of appetising bar snacks and bar bites – ideal if you are going on to a show at any of the nearby theatres or the arena.
The cocktail menu is excellent and very varied. I opted for the Perfected Negroni with Martin Millers Gin, Martini Rubino and Campari. This was mixed to perfection. I could taste all three spirits and it was not overly iced and my glass was decorated as it should be.
My partner chose a Vino Sour, which is a classic Whiskey Sour with Italian notes. The cocktail he said had a nice light and fresh feel to it.
Pizza Express have a selection of small plates which can either be a starter or can be ordered as a side.
I couldn’t visit Pizza Express without ordering their classic Dough Balls with garlic butter whilst my partner decided on the Garlic Bread with Mozzarella. The later was very tasty and went down a treat.
For mains I was swayed by the Vegan Giardiniera with artichoke, mushrooms, red onion and black olives, with tomato, vegan mozzarella alternative, garlic oil and parsley.
I am not a vegan but I have to admit this is one of the tastiest pizzas I have ever had. A lot is often said about vegan cheeses but this one is really delicious and I will certainly have this dish on my next visit.
I chose the under 600 calorie Leggera base one of my favourites. It’s a ring of wholemeal, white and spelt dough with the hole in the middle filled with fresh dressed salad.
The fusion of flavours of my pizza made it one to be savoured.
My partner went to the other end of the scale. He chose Diavolo – hot spiced beef, pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato, green pepper, red onion and Tabasco with hot green peppers on a Romano base which is bigger, thinner, crispier and inspired by pizzas from Rome.
This pizza is a very hot one and he was amazed at how much meat was piled onto the base however he found the base just a little too doughy.
Desserts at Pizza Express are always mouth-watering. I opted for Affogato a vanilla gelato with salted caramel sauce. It’s served with a biscuit and comes with a small jug of expresso which is poured over the gelato and is mouth-wateringly good. Certainly this was my heaven on a plate.
After such a hot pizza my partner chose the Raspberry Sorbet which was full of flavour and came beautifully presented.
Pizza Express in the Arena Quarter has some of the friendliest, most helpful and efficient staff in the city. Nothing is too much trouble and they will go that extra mile to meet your dietary or service requirements.
Whether it’s a pre-show meal, a business, family or girlie luncheon, dinner with friends or a special night, cocktails and light bites this place fits the bill.
Pizza Express, The Arena Quarter, Merrion Way, Leeds.
Open 11.00am to 10.00pm every day.
Tel: 0113 221 1890