Saturday, 4 April 2015

Pizza Express - my fallback place to eat

I very clearly remember the first time I had Pizza Express.  We'd just landed in Barcelona a couple of days before New Years Eve 2008 and were pretty darn tired.  Wandering down Las Ramblas, the main area of the ancient city and were looking for a bite to eat.  Sure, you're in Barcelona and the first thing you want to find is tapas, but there were so many people about that we just went for the first thing we saw.....  It just happened to be a Pizza Express.

That first time in Pizza Express was an interesting one, we had some amazing pizza but were conflicted, the pizza clearly came from a chain....  We like to think we are above heading to chain restaurants, but when the food's great - well, let's just say we overlooked the chain element.

We'd never seen Pizza Express in Australia, so always figured it was a European chain, but weren't totally surprised when we learned that there were a few outlets in Hong Kong. After all, to be honest, you can find just about anything in HK....  So, it was with fond memories that we snuck into Pizza Express one night after work and were reminded all over again, European Pizza is so much better than New York pizza (see post here).

After a couple of months in Hong Kong, we have a few favourite spots where we go to eat when we don't really feel like trying something new....  Pizza Express is one of those spots.

We've hit up every Pizza Express in HK, but without doubt our favourite is the one over at Wan Chai, which we visited again recently.  Wan Chai is a pretty cool spot, right on the border of Central and heading towards Causeway Bay, it's a spot where the blend of East meets West is really prominent.  It's also an area where a transformation is occurring, lots of cool little shops and restaurants opening up and a spot where we almost (apart from a crappy bathroom) rented an apartment.

Of all the Pizza Expresses in HK, the Wan Chai outlet is the most modern looking and to be honest, if you were inside eating pizza, you'd not think you were in a chain restaurant.  We'd picked a pretty busy night to (again) not have a reservation, but weren't worried when we were placed at the bar, which I personally think is the prime location in any restaurant.  It gave us an opportunity to watch the magic happen, pizzas being rolled out in preparation of an oven visit...

There is a pretty extensive menu at Pizza Express that covers a wide range of Italian food and we've even tried out some of the non-pizza items.  But really, if you're looking going to a place called Pizza Express, are you really going to look at anything else?  (If you answered yes here, maybe go to another restaurant!)

Now, if you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that I only order Margherita pizzas, right?  Well, ordinarily you are right but there is a pizza that I've started eating since coming to Hong Kong, and much to the satisfaction of some of my followers (you know who you are), I've changed my pizza order up a little bit lately - yep, I've included meat!!

My current obsession at Pizza Express came one day after trying SC's American, which comes from the Romana line of pizzas.  It's a simple pizza, tomato base with heaps of mozzarella cheese (yep, sounds like a Margherita still) and lashings of Hungarian pepperoni....  There it was, not a big change, but the addition of the pepperoni provided a burst of meaty flavour that really enhanced my pizza experience.  

Consistency is the key to any successful pizza joint and I have to say, Pizza Express get's it right.  With a thin base that is crispy in all the right ways, a tomato sauce that is rich and tasty and great quality mozzarella - I've rarely had a bad pizza. 

It's probably why I keep going back to Pizza Express, simple and quick, with great pizza.   Mmmm, reading over this post again and it feels like a bit of a love-in...

Oh well, it is what it is.

Sitting at the bar allowed us to watch the magic happen
My raspberry cooler was refreshing but a little tart
The lemonade pizza express is so lemony, it comes with a cup of sugar syrup - it needs it!

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