Time for a pizza and some antipasto

I don’t always get my first choice when looking for somewhere to eat as a family, even when it’s my birthday. It’s not that I like different places, a member of the family has a gluten-free diet and despite the wider choice you have these days, it’s not always about the choices. So after a game of bowling we ventured off to Pizza Express.

I do quite like how the different branches of Pizza Express reflect their locality. The Pizza Express at Southampton has a ocean liner styling, whilst the one up at Cribbs Causeway has a lot of Banksy style artwork up on the walls.

Though it was a Friday night, and we had booked, the place wasn’t too busy. I wonder if it’s busier during lunchtimes, because of the shopping.

As it was my birthday I decided to start with the sharing antipasto platter.


On the menu this is described as containing a selection of Italian meats: Finocchiona, Coppa, Milano salami and Calabrese sausage, with olives, artichoke, roasted tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, sweet Peppadew peppers and dough baked with Gran Milano cheese, accompanied by garlic butter and pestorissa, a harissa spiced tomato dip.

We went with the bigger sharing platter and that was just about right for five (combined with some gluten free dough balls). Okay if you are really greedy then you might want to order two of them. The salami was nice and fresh. Sometimes with these kinds of things, they are prepared so far in advance that the salami has dried out. The bread was interesting, but tasty. It could have done with some more artichoke, there were just two pieces.

For my main course I went with the Campana on a thin crusty Romana base. On top was crumbled pork & fennel sausage, friarielli, tomato, garlic oil and mozzarella, finished with Gran Milano cheese and parsley on a Romana base.

This was an enjoyable tasty pizza. I think it could have done with a little more friarielli. Friarielli or rapini is sometimes referred to as broccoli, but is actually a kind of turnip greens. Quite tasty.

Overall it was a really nice meal and I did enjoy it.

Mount Etna

Etna Pizza

At a recent lunch at PizzaExpress I shared the Antipasto starter (£9.90). This is a really nice platter of cured Italian meats with large green Sicilian olives, roasted tomatoes, baby mozzarella, sweet peppadew peppers and rocket with warm dough sticks.


This is a generous platter of antipasto. Very nice and fresh, though the peppadew peppers are quite hot and spicy. I really do like a good antipasto to start a meal off, the combination of flavours and textures is what makes it for me. With a dish like this it is too easy to prepare it all in advance and as a result it dries out. This platter though was fresh and felt like it had just been prepared fresh to order. The mozzarella for example looked and tasted like it had just been cut into slices. The cured italian meats, through probably pre-sliced, certainly hadn’t been left in the fridge for hours uncovered to dry out.

For my main course I chose the Etna pizza (£11.90). This was one of their Romana Pizzas, with hot soft n’duja sausage, roquito peppers, speck ham, mozzarella, tomato and grana padano. I do like the pizza from Pizza Express, they certainly taste a lot more authentic than pizza I have had elsewhere. Authentic as in Italian, a lot of pizza places have, what I would call, American style pizza and this is different to the pizza you can eat in Italy. The name Etna was certainly an indicator that this was a hot and spicy pizza. It wasn’t as spicy as you would think, so in my opinion was really nice.

Overall I enjoyed the starter and the pizza. It was probably a lot more than I would usually spend for lunch, but this wasn’t a usual lunch break.