BROMSGROVE Pizza Express launched its new lunchtime menu at the start of this month after the town’s restaurant was chosen as one of just a handful to trial the new selection before it is rolled out nationwide.
And the ‘express’ menu, which offers smaller lunch-sized dishes ranging from £3.45 to £5.95, has already started attracting twice the amount of customers in the middle of the day.
The Standard was invited to try out the menu on Friday (April 11) and test some of the new scrumptious foods which have been specially designed with lunchers in mind.
Staff were warm and welcoming and the restaurant had a great atmosphere – it was clean, comfortable and well-decorated. The walls have featured on them some of Bromsgrove poet’s AE Housman’s famous quotes and a collection of his family photographs also adorn two of the walls.
The waitress was polite, quick with drinks and happy to help with recommendations but not too overbearing.
The menu had a lot of the same classic dishes as the evening had but offered more friendlier sized portions which were quicker to eat, less expensive and did not leave you over full. There is nothing worse than getting back to work after lunch and not being able to do anything because of that over-eating bloated feeling. There was also a lot of calorie friendly meals to choose from including soups with freshly made bread rolls.
The food was quick to arrive and the staff were more than helpful supplying extra sauces and top-up drinks, the customer service was spot on.
Among the new dishes avialable were some freshly made piadinas which had been made using dough and gran moravia cheese before being baked, sliced and stuffed with fresh ingredients.
The Italian meat piadina was stuffed with a selection of cured Italian meats, finocchiona, milano and capers with light mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, pesto, rocket and extra virgin olive oil. The ingredients were very fresh and tasty unlike some of the questionable looking garnishes and salads which come out of some kitchens. The succulent meats, soft mozella and crispy rocket made for a fantastic combination.
The lunchtime pollo and astra romanita pizza was a good size but the base was a bit unstable. It was a concoction of chicken, sweet peppadew peppers, red onion, mozzarella, tomato, cajun spices and garlic oil which made for a great mix. There was just the right amount of spices to compliment the fresh ingredients making a very satisfying meal.
There was a good choice of side orders to choose from, the polenta chips where delicious – crispy on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside with the perfect amount of seasoning to complement the potato’s natural flavours.
The staff were very polite, helpful and more than happy to cut portions in half so customers could try two flavours and share dishes.
Following the meal, we noticed the new menu also features some additional light and summery puddings.
The vanilla panna cotta – a light set cream dessert served with a strawberry and a sprig of mint – was refreshing and mouth-watering.
The summer pudding which was packed full of summer berries was served with a fruit coulis, mascarpone, a strawberry and sprig of mint – it was cool, spongey and flavoursome.
As we had half each, the desserts went especially well together because of the contrasting flavours which really enhanced the dishes’ taste. A trio of mini puddings like the ones already offered would be a welcome addition to this menu and maybe should be something Pizza Express should look into.
Due to the quick service, it took 50 minutes to finish a two course meal, perfectly leaving us ten minutes to get back to the office.
The resturant also had free WiFi which would be welcome if you needed to undertake a working lunch and still wanted to get out.
Ami Kokoska, the restaurant’s assistant manager, said the new menu had been going very well since its launch on April 1.
“Before, during lunchtime we would only have one or two tables taken, but now, while we are still not as busy as we would like to be, it has really picked up.
“We have a lot more lighter choices ready for summer and because everything is available for take out it has really been encouraging people in.”
A spokesperson for Pizza Express said the company was always keen to hear from diners about their experience and what they thought of the food.
She urged anyone wanting to have their say on the new menu to visit www.pizzaexpress.com/customerservice and leave their feedback there.