Last weekend, I was invited to review the new autumn/winter menu at my local Pizza Express along with my boyfriend Phil. I’ve always been a fan of the restaurant chain as they provide excellent quality Italian food, served in style. They specialise in pizza but also have a wide range of salads, pasta and risotto dishes. I’ve tried all of the salads in the past and they are amazing – the Leggera Superfood and the Bosco salads are my favourites!
The restaurant is located on Castle Street and is nicely situated opposite Swansea castle and above Castle Square, giving a pleasant outlook from the windows. The interior is formal and minimal but stylish, complete with inspirational localised quotes from Dylan Thomas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Phil and I were invited to dine there on a Saturday afternoon. The restaurant was busy and buzzed with excited energy but we were shown to our table by a friendly waitress with no fuss. After getting comfortable, the waitress came back over promptly to take our drinks order. I had a glass of Moscato, a soft and fruity aromatic wine with a clean crisp finish. Phil opted for an Aspall Perronelle’s Blush, a fragrant apple and blackberry cider.
To start, I chose the Bruschetta Con Funghi, a dish of chesnut and closed cup mushrooms, béchamel sauce and red onions served on dough, finished with chopped parsley and balsamic syrup. The mushrooms were soft and tender and the rich, creamy sauce contrasted nicely with the zingy balsamic flavours. It was a decent sized portion, which was very satisfying as I hadn’t eaten much that morning.
Phil decided on one of the new starters, the Leggera Gamberetti Piccante. The dish consisted of prawns in a passata sauce, with chilli flakes, garlic oil, spinach and santos tomatoes, finished with parsley and optional dough sticks on the side. I tried it myself, the prawns were succulent and the sauce had just the right amount of spice. All in all, an appetising fusion of flavours.
For our main course, I plumped for the Mare Rossa pizza, which was new to the menu. The pizza had prawn and oak-roasted salmon with tenderstem broccoli, spinach, garlic, chilli flakes and mozzarella on a lobster bisque, béchamel and passata base and was finished with fresh parsley and Gran Moravia cheese. I don’t usually order pizza in restaurants but this time, the toppings won me over. Who needs boring pepperoni when you can have prawns AND salmon?! It was certainly my kind of pizza.
Phil picked out the Risotto Pollo Funghi, which had an updated recipe. The mouth-watering dish combined white wine risotto with chicken, pesto, chestnut mushroom, pine kernels, parsley and garlic, garnished with rocket, Gran Moravia cheese and pesto.
To accompany our main dishes, I went for Rucola, fresh rocket and shaved Gran Moravia cheese (I couldn’t get enough that day!) with black truffle oil and black pepper. Yum! I didn’t want anything heavy as I had already eaten dough to start and had dough as a main so the rucola was ideal.
Phil selected the Broccolini side dish, which was steamed tenderstem broccoli cooked with garlic butter and chilli flakes, topped with Gran Moravia cheese. Meanwhile, I had another glass of Moscato and Phil had a glass of Chianti, which he said had smooth ripe fruit flavours with a hint of spice.
There was a pleasing selection of desserts to choose from including cakes, tiramisu and gelatos. However, the Honeycomb Cream Slice was the obvious winner for me. The sweet honeycomb and chocolate pieces in a light cream complemented the layer of salted caramel and crunchy biscuit perfectly. It was decadent but completely moreish. I was a bit horrified when Phil asked to try some – too tasty to share!
Phil set on the Leggera Chocolate Cheesecake, a chocolate & mascarpone cheesecake on a chocolate sponge base with fresh mint. It was quite light – ideal if you’re feeling full after a meal but still want to satisfy your sweet tooth. At 250 calories, it’s also a sensible choice if you’re watching your weight but fancy something chocolatey. To round off our scrumptious meal, we both had an Irish Coffee to revive us from our overindulgence.
Overall, the experience was extremely enjoyable. We were both impressed with the polite and attentive service and the speed everything arrived. With great attention to detail, tantalising choices and fantastic quality, we’ll definitely be heading back Pizza Express again – and hopefully very soon!
Pizza Express, 40 Castle Street, Swansea SA1 1HZ. Tel: 01792 474320