“I eat pizza because you are what you eat and I want to be the best thing ever!” – Anonymous
PizzaExpress, founded by Peter Boizot in UK in 1965 deriving inspiration from his trip to Italy, is now a very well known and much loved brand not just in India but in 10 other countries across the world. After their Marol outlet recently shut down, five outlets exist now in Mumbai and they are planning to open six more! Their vision of expansion also involves bringing in international chefs, experimenting with a little fusion in food and also starting deliveries. We visited their BKC outlet on a weekday evening for dinner to sample their new ongoing festive menu that ends this January 29th, along with a few dishes from their regular yet evergreen menu.
The ambience and decor is similar to that that of the other branches of PE that I have visited so far, with a spacious, vast and clean dining area having an open kitchen tucked away in the end of the dining hall and adequately lit classy interiors with upbeat music that never fails to mesmerize you in all it’s simplicity.
While the Red Wine Sangria comprising medium bodied fruity cabarnet shiraz and dark rum along with orange juice, pineapple juice and diced apples was a wonderfully fruity and tangy concoction having mild appealing bitterness and the White Wine Sangria comprising sauvignon blanc and vodka along with orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice and diced pears had a crisp, subtle and sweet taste; the Lemonade turned out to be an extremely refreshing mocktail too, all courtesy the minty cool freshness let out by basil.
Hot BBQ Italian Chicken Wings
These juicy and tender chicken wings albeit their small size, revealed moderately spicy, faintly nutty and tangy notes all courtesy the hot spice mix and garlic marinade, emilgrana and the tangy BBQ sauce that these were tossed in. The homemade mustard dip served alongside had tangy and faint pungent tones.
Spinach Artichoke Tuffo With Dough Balls
My favourite dough balls were served along with a creamy, cheesy and earthy dip made of feta, spinach, artichokes, capers, chilli oil and fresh cream which turned out to be quite an average accompaniment to taste.
While the Prawns were juicy, earthy, adequately cooked and springy (not over-cooked), the tangy and thick passata sauce could have done with more depth of flavours and the combination of the sauce and prawns failed to please us as the prawns didn’t seem to imbibe the flavours of the sauce even a bit.
Spiedini Di Pollo
The basil pesto marinade imparted a minty, peppery and moderately spicy flavour to the skewered grilled chicken chunks on the exterior but failed to flavour the meat throughout. The chicken also lacked it’s tender juiciness and was a tad too dry on the palate.The salad comprising watermelon slices, olives, crunchy rocket leaves and lemon that accompanied the skewered chicken saved the dish from being a complete failure.
We ordered two half-and-half Romana pizzas; one containing two variants of chicken pizzas and the other containing my all-time favourite variants of pork pizzas at PE.
Pollo Coriander Pesto
This pizza with a desi twist totally took me by surprise, sceptic as I was to try a pizza that was said to be crafted to suit the Indian palate in the first place! The combination of tender and creamy chicken tikka chunks, stringy and supple mozzarella, characteristic pungent tones of the onion rings, green chillies, olive oil and the generous drizzle of fresh, bright, mildly citrusy and spicy pesto made of coriander ensured that we thoroughly enjoyed this one and how!
This one was equally a delight to taste, all courtesy the juicy and moderately spicy grilled chicken chunks revealing mild smoky notes, mixed bell peppers, spicy jalepenos, the faintly nutty, supple and springy combination of Emilgrana and mozzarella, tanginess of the arrabbiata sauce, peppery freshness of parsley and the spicy chilli oil.
My prime favourite pizza was yet again nailed to perfection; topped generously with pepperoni, spicy jalepenos, fresh red chillies, a spreadable variety of spicy pork sausages called hot N’duja sausages, the tangy and thick Italian passata, some buffalo mozzarella and was finished with some more torn buffalo mozzarella, fresh parsley and spicy chilli oil. Such a brilliantly spicy affair that’s never let me down till date!
My second favourite here didn’t disappoint me even a tad bit either! The spicy sausages along with spicy jalepeno rings, speck ham and the nuttiness imparted by emilgrana cheese resulted in a moderately spicy pizza with a mesmerizing aroma.
Linguine Cajun Pollo
The linguini was supple and cooked to perfection, I.e., it was neither too soft (overcooked) nor too chewy or crunchy (undercooked) and tossed in a creamy, smooth, faintly peppery and greasy Cajun sauce along with juicy chunks of Cajun chicken, dices of sweet roasted peppers and juliennes of pickled sundried tomatoes.
Chocolate And Hazelnut Semi Freddo
The creamy and bitter-sweet chocolate hazelnut gelato resting on a chocolate cookie base revealed a yummilicious and nutty core of thick chocolate sauce, crunchy hazelnuts, fudgy chocolate brownie bits and dense hazelnut chocolate cream.
Chocolate Cheese Cake
This was an uber-soft, velvety smooth, creamy, sinfully rich, dense, thick and bitter-sweet cheesecake with a thin and relatively firmer crust of luscious and glaze-y chocolate ganache resting on a soft and spongy base that totally blew my mind with it’s awesomeness!
Warm Berry Crumble
The combination of piping hot, pulpy, thick, smooth, sweet and tart berry compote with crispy, crumbly yet melting-in-the-mouth butter crumbs and the sweet and creamy frozen vanilla bean gelato resulted in a promising tornado of flavours for our taste buds indeed!
PE ensures you an amazing dining experience every single time.The service was extremely warm, welcoming, kind, attentive and cheerful. The staff is confident, well groomed, well versed with their menu and have good communication skills too. Though the service can get a bit slow at times, it doesn’t hurt to wait till your yummmazing pizzas are being crafted in the kitchen.
While the appetizers were strictly average, the beverages (the white wine sangria deserves a special mention), the pizzas, the pasta and the desserts were simply a delicious treat!
Food quality – 4/5
Food quantity – 4/5
Ambience – 4/5
Service – 4/5