European and West Asian Places in Manchester

#AD / Pizza Express on Oxford Street, Manchester

Pizza Express Christmas drinks

After a pleasant trip to Pizza Express in Didsbury, I try the Pizza Express on Oxford Street. The restaurant has been refurbished with modern fixtures and artwork inspired by PizzaExpress’s prestigious history over last 50 years. As it was coming up to Christmas, the restaurant was decorated for the holidays and they also had their Christmas menu, which I will be reviewing.*

Interior

Pizza Express on Oxford Street, Christmas tree

Pizza Express Christmas tree

Table setting

Table setting

I was probably happier than most to be seated next to the Christmas tree. The manager asked if we were rushing to see the play at the Palace Theatre and after confirming we weren’t, he then informed us that service might be a bit slow. I thought this was excellent service, as knowing exactly what is happening does affect your experience at a restaurant. In the past, I have had to wait 30 minutes for a seat and then after being seated was then told that half the menu items weren’t available due to a delivery error. I could have saved myself 30 minutes going elsewhere!

The tables had a marble top and were decorated with a jar of cotton and baubles with a tag that you can scan with the Facebook Messenger app. This gave you the chance of winning something from Pizza Express. On this particular trip, I did not win anything. The restaurant itself was lit well with contemporary fixtures and although quite small, it felt fairly spacious.

The Drinks

Chambord Prosecco Royale

Chambord Prosecco Royale: Prosecco with a splash of Chambord and a fresh raspberry

I decided that as it was coming up to Christmas, my friend and I should celebrate with a glass of prosecco. Not just any prosecco, though, we went for the Chambord Prosecco Royale, a Christmas special to Pizza Express. This was very light and easy to drink with the raspberry adding that hint of sweetness. Very nice!

The food

Starters

Terrina Festa

Terrina Festa

A terrine of salmon, crab and prawn, served with rocket, house dressing, a wedge of lemon, fresh parsley and flatbread £5.85

Continuing on with my festive theme, I ordered the Terrina Festa from their Christmas specials. The terrine arrived and I proceeded to delve in before realising that they had forgotten about the flatbread. It was only after 5 minutes that they then provided me with it and as you can see from the photo, it was ever so slightly charred on the edges. Oh well. The terrine itself was very light and not overly fishy if you have concerns about that. Served with the warm flatbread and peppery rocket, it made for a nice starter.

Buffalo Mozzarella & Tomato Salad

Buffalo Mozzarella & Tomato Salad

Buffalo mozzarella served with tomatoes, fresh basil, pesto and extra virgin olive oil (v) (gf) (contains nuts) £5.55

My friend ordered the buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad. This was also quite nice, although my friend would argue that there wasn’t enough mozzarella! The tomatoes were really fresh and juicy.

Main course

Porchetta Natale Romana

Porchetta Natale Romana

Pulled, seasoned hog roast with a soft herb stuffing, pancetta, mozzarella, fresh rosemary, tomato, garlic oil and pine kernels, finished with fresh parsley (contains nuts) £13.20

For the main, I ordered the Porchetta Natale Romana, which basically tasted of Christmas in a pizza. The hog was really tender and the bites of stuffing just screamed Christmas. I ended up eating half of this as I really wanted to try out one of their desserts. Pizza Express gladly allowed me to take the rest back home in a box.

Padana

Padana

Goat’s cheese, mozzarella, tomato, caramelised onion, spinach, red onion and garlic oil (v) £12.50

My friend ordered the Padana, a gorgeous vegetarian pizza with goats cheese, spinach and an amazing caramelised onion. It is both sweet and savoury and I would recommend this to everyone.

Dessert

Snowball Dough Balls

Snowball Dough Balls

Dough balls with cinnamon and icing sugar served with a vanilla cream dip and a chocolate straw (v) £3.85

 Normally I’m not a fan of dough balls as a starter. I usually struggle to finish my main and find dough balls to be rather plain and unnecessarily filling. However, it was Christmas and with dough balls being Pizza Express’s speciality, I felt I had to get the sweet versions of their standard dough balls. These snowball dough balls are dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar and served warm with a gorgeous vanilla cream dip. They were very moreish, I definitely recommend these!

Overall rating and comments

7.5/10 As with my review of the Pizza Express in Didsbury, -1 as I still found the pizzas hard to slice, although I got better at it this time round. -1 for the pricing, although they do offer student discount for NUS card holders with 40% off on Mondays and Tuesdays and 20% off on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. -0.5 for the late and slightly burnt flat bread that went with my terrine..

Pizza Express did offer me this voucher to share with my readers for 30% off food at the Manchester Oxford St branch only. This voucher is applicable until the 23rd December 2016.

Pizza Express voucher Dec 2016

Will come again?

I think it is definitely a contender if I have plans to go to the Palace Theatre of the AMC Cinemas.

Information

Website: https://www.pizzaexpress.com/manchester-oxford-street

There are several branches of Pizza Express nationwide in the UK. The Manchester Oxford St branch’s details are below.
Address: Unit B, St James Building, 61-95 Oxford St, Manchester, M1 6FQ

Do you like Pizza Express? What do you think of dough balls?

* Note that I did not pay for my food or drinks, but this did not affect my review of the evening.

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