If you haven’t dined at the Pizza Express in the Arena Quarter, Leeds then its time that you did.
Pizza Express has come a long way over the years since it first opened in London in 1965.
There is no better example than the Pizza Express in the Arena Quarter that equals any of the city’s pizza restaurants. Their food has now been taken to a new level.
The restaurant is light and airy with floor to ceiling windows and some very comfortable seating. We sat in an alcove or booth as they call it which was both comfortable and afforded quite a bit of privacy.
For starters we decided to share and chose a new dish on the menu Garlic Mushrooms. These were succulent mushrooms baked in herbs and plenty of garlic. They were topped with plenty of goat’s cheese and drizzled with a sweet balsamic syrup which gave them a hearty rustic flavour.
To accompany these we chose Garlic Bread with Mozzarella. Topped with garlic butter it had soft cheese in abundance. The bread had only a slight taste of garlic and the bread itself was very light.
My colleague chose a pizza from the Romana range. These are pizzas inspired by those made in Rome. They are bigger, thinner and crispier and as my colleague said not for the faint hearted.
She chose the vegetarian option of Padana. The topping consisted of goat’s cheese, sweet caramelized onions and spinach combined with mozzarella, tomato garlic oil and red onions in a feast of great taste and textures.
The pizza base was thin and crisp as it said on the menu and the toppings blended perfectly with each other but be warned it is one large pizza.
My choice was the Leggara Gamberetti with its salad filled hole in the middle. This pizza when it arrived was a work of art. The butterfly garlic king prawns were tender and blended perfectly with the tomato with garlic, red onion and baby plum tomatoes with parsley There was no too much of a garlic taste which was good and it was finished off with a squeeze of lemon.
It’s good to know as well that Leggara has all the great taste of the Romana pizzas but at least one third of the calories.
With that in mind we had no compunction about ordering desserts. We each chose one of the new to the menu desserts.
My colleague chose the Baked Vanilla Cheesecake. This is made with real Madagascan vanilla and served with a salted caramel sauce. It was beautifully presented with chocolate sauce drizzled on the plate. The cheesecake itself was very creamy and the sauce a real contrast to it but at the same time it was light.
She declared it was one of the best cheesecakes she had ever tasted “I just did not want this cheesecake to end”.
I chose from the gelato and sorbet dessert menu. My Sunshine Sundae was certainly my heaven on a plate. It was summer fruits on a spoon for me. The vanilla gelato was laced with mango, passion fruit curd – which was so delicious and tangy, whipped cream and passion fruit.
Our visit to Pizza Express was just perfection. The staff were truly amazing and nothing was too much trouble for them to make our meal and other customers meals just so amazing.
Pizza Express, 23 Merrion Way, Leeds LS2 8BT.
Open 7 days a week from 11.30 to 10.00pm. Tel: 0113 221 1890.