The top of Pizza Express’s menu it says Good food. Good times. Since 1965 – and it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Since its inception in 1965 when it was regarded as just another ‘pizza parlour’ it has developed into a eatery with a reputation for an innovative and ever changing menu – today Pizza Express is more than just Pizzas!

Although many of the restaurants in the chain still have that pizza parlour feel the Albion Place Pizza Express has style, space and the ambience of any good restaurant and having visited many of the chain’s establishments up and down the UK I can truthfully say,  this one is ‘special’.

The seating and décor fit into the style of the building, the seating in particular gives a feeling of space and light but the jewel in the crown of this establishment is the efficiency and friendliness of its staff who have a ‘nothing is too much trouble’ manner.

With a frequently changing menu and more choices than ever it took us a while to peruse the menu and I must admit I was tempted by the new items on the menu, one of which was  Arrabbata Prawns which I chose for my starter. Normally I am not a fan of spicy food but this dish of prawns in a spicy tomato sauce with peppers and parsley and Dough Balls on the side really appealed to me.

The peppers were soft and the parsley and Dough Balls defused the spicy taste. The prawns were tender and the portion was more than ample.

My colleague’s choice of Calamari did not disappointed. The lightly-crumbed  rings were crispy and succulent using a Caesar dressing was a clever move as it gave the dish added flavour.

Another new dish on the menu, in the under 600 calorie Leggera section, was the Padana (pictured above). This is not only low calorie it is also a tasty vegetarian option with goat’s cheese, caramelised onion, spinach, red onion and tomato. The wholemeal, white and spelt dough pizza has a hole in the middle filled with fresh dressed salad containing a myriad of different types of leaves.

My colleague was won over by the salad menu and  another of the new dishes  Pollo Milanese. The warm breaded chicken breast was perfectly cooked and the coating was flavoursome and crispy. For her choice of accompanying salad she chose the Cos lettuce, Grand Milano cheese and Caesar dressing and  Polenta chips as a side order. If you’ve never tasted these then you should they make a wonderfully tasty addition to any dish.

Desserts at Pizza Express are more than just Gelato. New to the menu is Affogato. This was more than a heaven on a plate and a very clever mix of flavours consisting of a single shot of coffee served alongside two scoops of vanilla gelato and finished with a salted caramel sauce with a a crispy Italian biscuit on the side. This is the perfect choice for those who don’t like their desserts too sweet.

From the Dolcetti desserts, mini sized portions served with coffee, my colleague decided on Salted Caramel profiteroles. These were crispy on the outside, which is often rare these days, but the way they should be, and filled with a caramel cream – the verdict simply delicious.

Pizza Express is one of those places where you will always feel you have chosen the right place to eat whether it’s a girlie or business lunch, a family meal or kids birthday treat, a pre-theatre dinner or an intimate dinner for two.

Pizza Express, 4 Albion Place, Leeds. Tel: 0113 242 2131 – Open seven days a week from 11.00am – 10.00pm.


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