Pizza Express is located in the heart of the city centre on Dean Street. Large windows flood the restaurant with natural light, and the décor is dominated by shades of blue, green and brown, together with a feature fireplace and an open kitchen area.
The restaurant was relatively quiet on our visit, but we did venture along over the Easter weekend, so al fresco dining was probably the choice du jour thanks to the sunny weather.
The new Pizza Express lunchtime menu is available Monday to Friday and features a selection of dishes including salads, soups, pizzas and Piadina (dough baked with Gran Moravia cheese then sliced and filled with ingredients like crispy pancetta, anchovies or avocado). Plus, diners can eat in or take away.
My boyfriend’s Pollo Salad (£5.25) was light but filling; consisting of chicken, goat’s cheese, mixed leaves, pepper, olives, croutons and tomato with warm mini dough sticks. He also plumped for a portion of creamy coleslaw with horseradish mayonnaise priced at £1.95.
As for my Pollo ad Astra pizza (£5.95) this was served up on a chopping board, complete with mini pizza cutter. The crust was super thin, topped with chicken, sweet Peppadew peppers, red onion, mozzarella, tomato, Cajun spices and garlic oil. It was very appetising and not too heavy; perfect for avoiding that post-lunchtime slump.
Other Romanita pizzas on offer include the American Hot and the Veneziana, the latter featuring pine kernels and surfine capers.
The waitress recommended a side of Polenta chips with a zingy honey mustard dip (£2.35). The chips’ coating was crunchy and sprinkled with salt and parmesan cheese. Inside, the texture was smooth but dense, offering a pleasant alternative to your regular potato-based chip.
Tasty, affordable and served up quickly, it has to be said that the new Pizza Express lunchtime menu ticks all the boxes for city based workers looking to swap their sarnies for something altogether more fulfilling.
For more info visit the Pizza Express website at www.pizzaexpress.com.
* Newcastle Sparkles was invited along to try out the new Pizza Express lunchtime menu