Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Everyone Loves Pizza Right? Pizza Express Review

Last week I was invited, along with Jac from Tinned Tomatoes and Stuart from CakeyBoi to indulge in some Summer Fayre at Pizza Express in St. Andrews.

What a beautiful location for a restaurant - set in a little square beside a church and the library, this Pizza Express certainly fits in nicely with the local traditional surroundings.  Although nestled in a wee building, inside it's a rather impressive and bright space, and can certainly cater for a lot of people at any one time, with a small, more intimate upstairs area too, to take you away from the hubbub of downstairs.

This particular evening, although mid-week, was surprisingly busy - although St. Andrews is a very popular tourist resort, famous for it's old architecture, golf, university, scenery and traditional local shops there's definitely something for everyone in this gorgeous wee town, so I suppose it's actually unsurprising that the local restaurants were mopping up trade.

The last, and only other time I have been to a Pizza Express was when we visited Edinburgh  in the pouring rain.  After getting completely soaked and feeling really sorry for ourselves, the staff at that particular Pizza Express made Dave, the kids and I feel completely at home.  We all had a blast, so when I was asked to try out the St. Andrew's version, I was very much looking forward to it.  Pizza Express's reputation generally precedes it, plus it was nice to get the opportunity for some child-free dining this time!

We had been invited to try the special summer menu, so when we sat our table, where we could see the guys and gals making and twirling the pizza dough (what a cool thing to watch - I wish I could do that!), we focused on that.

Our waiter introduced himself as Tom (how could I forget such a great name!?  His mother was obviously very cool and clever, like me) and he made sure we were furnished with some refreshments while we perused the menu.

The three of us opted for the Hugo Cocktail, which was made up of prosecco, lemon elderflower and  fresh mint over ice and it certainly went down a treat!  I love the use of mint on drinks as a freshener and it really did make me feel all summery!  Fab!

I decided against choosing a main from the summer menu - being a vegetarian who is particularly fussy when it comes to goats' cheese and mushrooms, it didn't leave me with any room for manouvre, although I really wish I liked goats' cheese - the Emilia Romana that Staurt ordered just looked delicious!

But we did opt for starters.

We began with some amazing Polenta chips, the Bosco Salad and The Leggara Superfood Salad from the summer menu to share.

Superfood ahoy!

What I love about Pizza Express, is that you can eat the food there and not feel like you've just stuffed yourself full of rubbish.  Oh no - this is real food, and it's good for you.  The Leggara came in at under 300 calories, which as a shared starter was a nice choice.  It was the first time I'd had Polenta chips - and wowaaaweeewa!  More please!

Absolutely delicious!  They came with a wee  honey mustard-y type dip too, which was just so moreish.  There was an awkward moment where the last Polenta chip was left, due to crazy, crazy politeness, which meant that Tom nearly whipped it away, but I saved it at the last second.  I'm not shy when it comes to scooping up delicious food.

We didn't have long to wait for our main course either, despite how busy the restaurant was.  I'd gone for the Leggera Pomodoro Pesto which was ridiculously tasty - a cute wee pizza at under 500 calories with a hole in the middle for a wee salad!  It was just perfect for a light eater like me - although it is not a problem if you can't finish your munching on-site.  Our waiter was more than happy to box up Jac's Caprina Rossa, a veggie pizza with goat's cheese, beetroot, red onion and pesto, as well as Stuart's Emilia Romana, which looked delicious and came with goat's cheese, mozarella, mushrooms, garlic oil, rocket and truffle oil.

Simply delicious - my Leggera

Jac's choice

I am a very fussy eater (although I am getting a lot better in my old age) and I often struggle to find something among the vegetarian options in a menu - often restaurants like to fall back on simply goat's cheese, mushrooms and avocado - and I very often have to eat something I'm not too keen on, but I have to say, I am very impressed by Pizza Expresses menu for this.  Even for those with plainer tastes like me, they have found a way to infuse subtle flavours and edge me into new territory without me feeling like I'd left my comfort zone, which I love.

It's a safe bet as well for those with a gluten-free dietary requirement.  I was very pleased to see a lot of very nice gluten free options on the menu and I will firmly advocate for eating out here next time I'm with any of my gluten-free buddies; I know they'd truly appreciate the offerings.

Onto desserts, and despite the fact that by this point we had pretty much eaten our body weights in food, and ordered another of those scrummy Hugo cocktails, we were very keen to order some delicious sweet dishes!


Jac and I had already narrowed down what we were having before we'd even got there (funny how you always pick a dessert first, huh?) and thus had settled on the Leggara Lemon and Blueberry Glory (for Jac) which consisted of a lemon curd sorbet with blueberries, coulis and a chocolate straw, and for myself a Strawberry Cream Glory, which was made up of (you guessed it) strawberry gelato, cream, strawberries and a sugar wafer curl. Oh yes!

Stuart went for a rather sophisticated looking coffee accompanied by a Dolcetti, which is a special dessert designed to accompany coffee (I know!  What a great idea, right?  I seriously need to start drinking coffee!) and there were lots of pleased noises coming from our table as we all consumed our sweet treats.

We finished up eventually and thanked our waiter and the various staff, snapping some of the kitchen staff on the way out - it's so cool to see them at work while you eat, although I can't imagine what kind of pressure that must put them under!  It must be cool though to see all of those satisfied customers eating the food you just made for them.

The guy twirling the pizza had pretty big muscles - I wonder if that's from all the pizza dough? Hmm...must get into pizza dough twirling...

We left the restaurant in no real hurry - there was no rush to get out of the door, and we were made to feel entirely welcome throughout our experience, despite the mad rush that was going on around us.  I sincerely look forward to returning.

We had a leisurely stroll around the wee town before we left, taking in some of the sights and taking the opportunity to peek into the different shop windows.  There's so much to see here, it really is worth a cheeky wee day out with the other half if you can.


  1. It was a great evening - roll on our next visit!!

  2. It was a good night. Now I want to do it all over again.


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