So when I was invited to Pizza Express to try out the new Autumn menu I was a happy lady. We booked a table for Monday which ended up being a dark and drizzly day - the perfect time to have a nice warming dinner.
There are two Pizza Express restaurants in Newcastle - one in Eldon Square which I'm not a huge fan of as, being in a mall, it tends to get very busy and one on Dean Street which I love. It's housed in a beautiful Georgian building and is really cosy. It also tends to be far more peaceful.
The Autumn menu introduces a few new additions including an exciting new twist on dough balls, some new pizzas and very tempting desserts.
I know the Pizza Express menu pretty well and do tend to always order the same dishes so I was interested to see if I could discover some new favourites. Wanting to experience the new menu properly we decided to be greedy and go for all three courses (you're very welcome!).
There was one new starter that I was desperate to try, the Dough Balls Fromaggi - the famous Pizza Express dough balls but with an Autumnal makeover. The dough balls have been baked with Gran Moravia cheese to give them a nice cheesy crust.
Cover anything in cheese and I'm going to be a fan. I loved the added cheese and as always really indulged with the garlic butter and smothered each one with far too much. Delicious!
Simon decided to make a healthier choice and ordered the Leggera Gamberetti Piccante - prawns in a passata sauce with chilli flakes, spinach and santos tomatoes. He enjoyed it but it really packed some heat, by the time he had finished his forehead was looking a little shiny. If you're not a fan of spice this dish probably isn't for you.
Dishes packing heat does seem to be a bit of a theme with the new menu which isn't great for me as I really don't like spicy food at all. I had wanted to order the new Carbonara Pizza but unfortunately the restaurant were out of Pancetta so instead I chose the Mare Rossa Pizza but asked for it without chilli flakes.
The Mara Rossa is covered in Prawn, Salmon, Brocccoli and Spinach and sits on a Lobster bisque, béchamel and passata base. A good seafood pizza has been long overdue at Pizza Express so it's a very welcome addition to the menu. I can see it becoming my new favourite.
Simon went spicy again and picked the Etna which, although not new to the menu, has had a slight recipe tweak. Despite asking for his pizza without roquito peppers his meal still gave a massive kick with spicy hot 'nduja sausage. It was possibly a little too hot for him but he managed to finish every mouthful so it must have been good.
Just one little criticism - the Romana Based pizzas are HUGE and literally fall over the plate which makes them pretty tricky to eat without ending up all over the table.
Now for my favourite part - dessert. I am very intrigued by the new healthier option - a Leggera Chocolate Cheesecake which is less than 250 calories. I'm sorry to say that this time we couldn't bring ourselves to order it though so if any of you order it please do let me know how it is.
We were going all out on this visit though so that meant full fat yummy desserts. Simon picked the new Vanilla Cheesecake served with fruit coulis. It was tasty but I can't help but feel that a vanilla cheesecake is a little dull and bland.
Luckily my choice more than made up for that. The new Honeycomb Cream Slice is so good, it definitely knocks my old favourite (Chocolate Fudge Cake) out of the park. It's pretty similar to a cheesecake - chunks of honeycomb and chocolate hidden in a light cream sitting on top of a layer of salted caramel and biscuit. It is absolutely delicious so make sure you leave room for dessert next time you are in Pizza Express.
We were pretty impressed with the new offerings and it's definitely worth popping in to Pizza Express and seeing if you can find a new favourite dish.
Our meals and drinks were provided free of charge so we could try out the new menu. However, this is an honest review of our experience.