Florentine Pizza

Whilst writing another blog post I realised I had not written about a meal I had eaten last year. Back in March 2023, I was staying at the Drayton Court Hotel in Ealing. I have been staying here for a fair few years now. It is significantly cheaper than central London, and with the Elizabeth Line, hitting central London is really fast. West Ealing Station is a few minutes walk from the hotel, from there you can catch a train to central London in less than twenty minutes. The hotel has an Ealing comedies theme, there are rooms named after films, and there are numerous photographs from the films framed on the walls.

I was going to have the steak sandwich, but I misread the menu, they stopped serving sandwiches at 5pm. So instead, I had the fish tacos and then the Florentine pizza.

I usually avoid pizza in hotels as they usually use pre-cooked bases, or even prepared pizza. I remember once having a pizza at the Doubletree Hilton and being very unimpressed with that pizza.

I think they had used a pre-cooked base, rather than making it fresh. I wasn’t too surprised by that. I was a little surprised that the tomato base was tomato puree and not passata or other kind of tomato sauce. This I wasn’t too impressed with. The toppings were nice and fresh though.

The Drayton Court Hotel however has a proper pizza oven and use proper pizza bases. So I was quietly looking forward to see what I would get.

I ordered the Florentine Pizza, which included spinach, mushrooms, olives, and an egg. It is one of my favourite pizzas and I have quite often when visiting pizza places.

I wasn’t to be disappointed. This was an excellent generous pizza. A great base, cooked well, and delicious toppings. The dough was crisp with a soft centre, the toppings were full of flavour and there was just the right amount of tomato and cheese. The egg was a little overcooked for my preference, but this didn’t detract from the whole pizza eating experience.

All in all a delicious pizza.

Rustica Black Truffle Salami & Mushroom Pizza

Bristol has a fair number of restaurants and places to eat. Cabot Circus has a fair few high street chains. One of my regular places is Zizzi, usually as I have some kind of offer.

This time I decided to use a Zizzi 25% offer I had received, combined with an existing balance on my Zizzi eGift card, though I could get a cheaper lunch.

I was given a warm welcome and pretty much allowed to choose where to sit. I took a table and looked over the menu. I went with the Rustica Black Truffle Salami & Mushroom.

A white base with truffle salami, mushrooms, crispy prosciutto, Fior di Latte mozzarella, riserva cheese, truffle-infused oil and crispy sage.


The Rustica was thin and crispy. I do like white bases and this was excellent. I thought it was a good amount of toppings, not scarce, but also not overdone.

In the end there was a problem with the Zizzi eGift card, so lunch was not as cheap as I hoped it would be. However it was a nice pizza.

Half and Half

One memory I have of my time at the University of York in the 1980s was going out to eat at Pizza Hut one time and sharing a pizza with a friend and having a half and half. One half had one topping, the other half had a different topping. This was something I had never done before. I am not saying I’ve done it much since then either. Why the memory, well I recently had a half and half pizza at Zizzi in Bristol. This one though I ate all to myself.

I don’t generally go out for lunch in Bristol when I am working there. Usually I will take a packed lunch, sometimes I have a substantial lunch, as I know I am in busy in the evening and will only be getting a sandwich or a snack.

Went to Zizzi for lunch as I had a gift voucher to use. I did fancy a pizza so I went with the half and half. I chose the Rustica Half & Half Sticky Pig.

This was a slow-cooked pulled pork and mozzarella pizza with Roquito hot honey. One half, a rich red base topped with spicy ‘nduja, finished with crispy prosciutto and riserva cheese. The other, a white base, with smoky scamorza cheese, crumbled meatballs, crackling & Roquito pearls.

The halves weren’t exactly equal, so I am glad I wasn’t sharing. The rich red base was bigger than the white base. I would have preferred to have it the other way around, or at least equal halves.

The red side was very tasty, quite spicy with the ‘nduja. I keep meaning to buy some ‘nduja and cook with it. Not sure what I would cook with it, but when I have it in food I have out, I quite like it.

The white side was equally tasty. I enjoyed the smoky scamorza cheese and crumbled meatballs. I did wonder if the crackling would be too hard, but it wasn’t, it was nice and crispy rather than crunchy. I am not a great fan of the Roquito pearls, but they added colour and some spice to the pizza.

I enjoyed my pizza. It was a nice place to have lunch, not too busy, but not so empty as to be desolate. Service was friendly and efficient.

Italian Stallion Pizza

I hadn’t planned on eating at the Raddison Red Hotel in Glasgow when I was staying there, but after having drinks and chat, it was getting late. So rather then head out to the restaurants on Argyle Street up the road I decided to eat at the hotel restaurant, the OUIBar + KTCHN.

The menu reminds me of the type of menu you would find at Frankie and Benny’s. 

I had the Italian Stallion pizza, which was a white pizza with Italian sausage, cubes of roasted potato, and parmesan crisps. 

It came promptly. It certainly was a different kind of pizza, I do like a white pizza and the mix of sausage and potato was interestingly different. Wasn’t so sure on the green parmesan crisps.

I did enjoy the pizza, and the service was excellent.

Time for a rustica pizza

I was out in Bristol thinking about something for lunch. I had a voucher for free main course at Zizzi, so I headed over to their branch in Cabot Circus to get something for lunch. I  haven’t been to Zizzi for a while, so it was nice to look over the menu. There were some nice choices, but in the end I went with the  Rustica Pizza with Black Truffle Salami & Mushroom.

This was a white base with truffle salami, mushrooms, crispy prosciutto, Bufala mozzarella, riserva cheese, truffle-infused oil and crispy sage.

I do like a white base pizza, and this was a nice pizza, with generous toppings, but not over the top toppings. The fresh mozzarella was a nice touch. I liked the rustica base which was crisp. This was a nice pizza and I am glad I chose it from the menu.

Alongside I had the Courgetti Fritti which were crispy courgette chips.

These were interesting and I enjoyed them.

Came to pay the bill and there was an issue with the staff saying I could only have used the offer with the purchase of two main courses, it didn’t say that in the T&Cs, so in the end they did accept the voucher. 

Apart from the voucher issue, the service was excellent.

Funghi di Bosco

I was looking through my email when I saw that there was a message about a pizza special offer for 7.99 and to try out some new pizza. I checked the Pizza Express app on my phone and saw the pizza offer.

I was thinking about what to do for lunch, so headed to Pizza Express at Cabot Circus. There was plenty of room, and I was given a warm welcome. I wasn’t exactly in a hurry, but I wasn’t really in the mood for a long slow lunch, so was pleased with the speedy efficient service.

I looked over the menu, and didn’t see any new pizza, well maybe I misread the email. The last time I was at Pizza Express I had the Fiorentina, so this time I wanted to have something different. I did quite like the idea of mushroom pizza, so decided to order the Funghi di Bosco on a Romana base.

The pizza arrived quite promptly and looked good.


There were plenty of mushrooms. I liked how they used chestnut mushrooms; I much prefer chestnut mushrooms, personally I think they have a nice texture and flavour. The base was nice and thin, I do like the Romana base.

What was amusing was the email was actually from Bella Italia and not Pizza Express. So Bella Italia had new pizza on their menu. Well maybe next time I am out for lunch and fancying pizza I will visit Bella Italia.

Time for another Fiorentina

I was up in York for a few days and I was looking for a place for lunch, where I could sit down for a while and check work stuff and do emails and the suchlike.

I had a notification from the Pizza Express app that they had a £7.99 deal for a classic pizza, so I thought, that’s good value and I will be able to sit for a while. I’ve done this deal before at the Pizza Express in Ealing.

I headed to the branch of Pizza Express in York by the River Ouse. There was lots of room, so I chose a table by the window. I looked over the menu and looked at the classic pizza, as this what was on offer with the app. I went with the Classic Fiorentina Pizza.

The one with the ‘egg and spinach’, plus mozzarella, tomato, Gran Milano cheese, black olives and garlic oil. 

The egg was slightly overdone for my liking, but not by much. I’ve had this pizza many times and this was a nice pizza. It’s quite a simple pizza, but I like it.

I did feel that the service was a little over-attentive, but it wasn’t that intrusive.

This was a nice place to eat, the offer made it good value, and I had a tasty pizza.

Margherita at Pizza Express

We were visiting Bath and were looking for somewhere to eat. I hadn’t done any real planning, so didn’t really have a chance to find anywhere special or different. 

It was a weekend so Bath was quite busy with shoppers, tourists, and visitors.

In the end, we winded up in Pizza Express.

Despite having lots of choice, I went with a Margherita pizza. A simple combination of dough, tomato, and cheese.

It was a simple pizza that was made well and I did enjoy it.

The service was excellent; efficient and friendly.

Time for a Fiorentina

Fiorentina Pizza

I had arrived in Ealing early and had some time before I could check into my hotel. I did quite fancy pizza and I had enjoyed my pizza from Franco Manca when I last had pizza for lunch in Ealing.

I went for a walk, despite thinking I would have pizza for lunch, I did walk around first. I did wonder if the La Rueda Spanish Tapas Bar had a lunch offer, having enjoyed my tapas dinner there the previous week. They didn’t.

I decided I would go to Rosa’s Thai for lunch, but when I got there, it was empty. Decided, that was a no, I don’t really like eating in an empty restaurant.

So, what was I going to have for lunch, decided I would have a pizza at Franca Manca. I went in and there didn’t appear to be any staff, I waited, and then I waited some more. I then walked out.

I headed to Reineta for lunch, this time their lunch menu matched their online lunch menu. However, I didn’t really fancy a toastie or a sandwich. I left and went back to Franca Manca. Again, I waited, I waited some more, then I walked out again. 

So, I headed to Pizza Express, this time I was given a warm welcome, so I took a seat and looked over the menu. I had a special offer on the app, so I used them to have a Classic Fiorentina Pizza.

The one with the ‘egg and spinach’, plus mozzarella, tomato, Gran Milano cheese, black olives and garlic oil.

It arrived in good time. It looked really nice.  I’ve had this pizza quite a few times and it is one of my favourite pizza from Pizza Express. I like the spinach, olives and egg. I was a little disappointed that the egg was cooked solid, but overall, I did enjoy the pizza. It was good value for money, I had good service and I didn’t need to wait!

Pizza DiSH

Harwell Science Campus

I occasionally find myself at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, where we have an office, and on a recent visit was looking for lunch. Pre-pandemic I would usually find lunch at the RAL Restaurant, which was pretty good.

Back in August 2022 I decided to try out the DiSH pop-up dining experience. This had opened in September 2021, but that was my first visit, and I had enjoyed a burger.

I was back on the campus and needing some lunch, so I headed out in the sun to DiSH.

A social dining destination located in the heart of Oxfordshire,  with a choice of authentic and vibrant cuisines. Whether you’re enjoying music performances from one of our live artists, or simply relaxing after work with a cold drink – DiSH is a place to congregate, to spark new ideas and enjoy the ambiance.

There was quite a bit of choice at DiSH, I decided that I didn’t want a burger, so that left a Greek wrap, pizza, or burrito. I went with the pizza lunch deal, a margarita pizza with a drink.

I placed my order and within five minutes my freshly cooked pizza was ready. 


This was not a huge pizza, about 10” across, but a perfect size for lunch I think. I liked the crust but did feel that the dough was slightly undercooked. The tomato sauce was good and I enjoyed the helping of (proper) mozzarella.

The choice of drinks though was limited, which was a pity. I had a can of sparkling rhubarb from Cawston Press, whereas in reality I wanted a diet Coke. The other choice was a Capri-sun. I am not six.

Overall good service and a nice pizza.