Pizza-express-interiorBefore kids, Pizza Express was high on our list of casual evenings out. Once the children arrived, we were keen to keep it as an eating out option with young ones tagging along. As soon as they were on solids we had them eating the basic tomato sauce pasta and dough balls. They even provide pencils, colouring sheets and stickers to keep young ones occupied.

Pizza Express restaurants seem to be everywhere. At the time of writing this post there were around 400 restaurants in the UK. It’s easy to find one, and as long as it is not early evening, there is usually no need to book. We have visited many in London on our days out including the atmospheric jazz club in Soho and the one on Kings Road, Chelsea. I’ve lost count of the other cities we have eaten in.

Cool locations and venues

The ground floor at the Soho jazz club is the regular smart Pizza Express venue dishing out its reliable menu. Head downstairs, though, and it’s another story. The basement jazz club hosts regular music sessions and attracts some big names. Norah Jones and Scott Hamilton have taken to the stage, and Sting has even given an impromptu performance here. Emerging talent is also encouraged, with lesser-known acts often appearing.

You need to book for the Jazz sessions and in the evening, it is an adult only affair. If you are at the restaurant and there is no jazz playing, take a sneaky peek downstairs and have a look around. My kids loved seeing the staff setting up the instruments and sound-checking the piano for the later evening performance.

The Kings Road restaurant at Chelsea is a wonderful historic building with some great outdoor dining if the weather is good. You can sit outside and watch the parade of luxury cars drive past in this expensive part of town.

The Menu

There is a great kids menu with small pizzas, pasta, a dough ball starter served with a few salad vegetables and ice cream for desert. Young children are genetically programmed from birth to have a preference for certain tastes and a dislike for others. From the very beginning they are attracted to sweet flavour and also salty tastes. Pizza Express have done their home work.

The tomato pasta sauce is relatively sweet and creamy and the dough balls with the garlic butter (served on the side) are slightly salty and the deserts, as you would expect (ice cream and chocolate brownies) are also sweet. Of course, there are also the kids size pizzas. The staff are great and are always happy to put whatever you want on the kids pizza (as long as it is on the overall menu) so feel free to modify your toppings to suit. I would agree it is not the world’s most healthy of meals, but as a treat every now and again it works for us. It’s always been easy to get our kids eating here.

For grown ups, it’s a pleasant restaurant experience, a far cry from the fast food of McDonalds or the cheap and cheerful Pizza Huts. The food is usually excellent and the service slick and cheerful.

Free food at Pizza Express

One of the real advantages of Pizza Express  for us is they are part of the Nectar Reward Card scheme. This means that we can exchange the Nectar points that we collect during our day to day shopping for vouchers to spend on the food. If you want more information on Nectar Rewards (and other free stuff) take a look at our post.

We have had hundreds of pounds worth of food for free using the Nectar scheme. It makes eating out a lot more palatable on the wallet.

Let us know if you love Pizza Express by leaving a comment below. We’d love to hear what your favourite dishes are.