My fella and I had a Wednesday night date lined up last week, and on the back of the tales of pizza, I decided to take advantage of a ‘certain’ mobile phone company’s movie and dinner promo. Let’s call them, um, Blue.
So, I printed out the Blue Wednesdays voucher, and we took a leisurely trek up the North Bridge. It was one of those fabulous Edinburgh evenings, sky as bright as you like. We took the East side, and with it, the views over to Calton Hill, Arthur’s seat, Leith and the sea beyond.
We sauntered in, through the big glass doors, and the familiar room welcomed me back with wafting smells of garlic and pizza, and a friendly Spanish waiter. I have never quite mastered the art of blasé or coy when it comes to redeeming coupons, so I just stuck it on the table and said’ we’ve got this 2for1 offer thing’. The look, by way of reply was definitely that of ‘…you and everyone else in here tonight’.
We were seated at a nice table towards the rear of the room , the ubiquitous gerbera in a vase adorned the table.The menu had a few new ideas , including the leggera which is a pizza with a hole in the middle where they put a bunch of salad leaves. For the dieters apparently. I say go with the Soho – you get a WHOLE pizza for the same price and it has half a bushel of rocket on the top. My brief panicked thought that maybe they’d out phase the Soho now this pizza-cum-salad invention had come around was unfounded, as my fave pizza still featured.
We ordered a bottle of fairly average but pleasantly easy-going Nero d’Avola/Shiraz ,which was a reasonable £14.95 a bottle. I also ordered some tap water and just about fainted when I saw it was served in a cheap looking plastic jug. Hmm, I wonder if tough economy and too many voucher users had eaten into the glassware budget.
Thankfully no other corners seemed to be cut. The free doughballs and garlic bread ( I know, I know, totally unnecessary) were fine. The pizzas arrived, and I was transported back to my mid-twenties. The pizza was great- the bland black olives, the rocket, the olive oil.
The great thing about Pizza Express is that the food standards have remained consistent over the years. There’s the odd tendency to get a slightly under-fired base from time to time when things are busy, and there was a bit of press a couple of years ago debating whether or not the pizzas had shrunk. But, they’ve always got fresh ingredients to hand , and with new menu ideas are clearly looking to maintain the popularity they’ve deserved to attain since they opened in the ’60s.
The bill came to something ridiculously cheap like £22.70 for doughballs, garlic bread, 2 pizzas and a bottle of red wine. Like all good people in this situation, we embarassedly over-tipped, and went on our way.