Pizza Express may serve Italian food but its ubiquity makes it feel as British as fish and chips. With 400 restaurants across the UK, each claiming to be unique, you don’t have to go far to find a restaurant. But how good is this pizza stalwart at accommodating families? Chef Tony finds out.

I arrived with my partner and 15-month-old daughter at this well known pizza chain at lunch time to find it half empty. When we were seated, it was near the kitchen, too noisy for a baby, no matter how well-behaved. However, when we asked to be moved it wasn’t a problem: in fact, the staff were more than helpful and shifted us round the corner.

When the menus came out, we were given a children’s menu which doubled as a colouring book as well as some coloured pencils. There was also a paper chef’ s hat for our daughter to decorate and wear – a wonderful idea and one I hadn’t seen before.

Pizza Express’s menu was simple but also managed to be informative and colourful. We chose Pasta Burro for our daughter – unfortunately, it was a bit dry. Perhaps it had been put under the hot lights for too long while waiting for the rest of the order to be cooked? My girlfriend had the new Leggara Superfood Salad and some Polenta Chips – both were delicious and the salad surprisingly filling. I opted for the Calabrese Pizza to satisfy my love of spicy food. All the heat was in the middle (the sides lacking that essential piquancy) but it was a good pizza. Next time, I’d like to see the filling and spices spread out a bit. A Tomato Mozzarella and Pesto Salad was shared between us. This was well presented and tasted as it should.

Onto dessert. I had a gorgeous chocolate fudge sundae (no complaints there) while my girlfriend opted for a coffee and cake combo.

All in all, the service was exemplary, made all the more so when the waiting staff were more than happy to provide a damp cloth at the end of the meal when we realised we’d forgotten baby wipes (an occupational hazard when you’re a parent).

The bill came to an astonishing £54 –  a tad too much at lunch time for a modest meal with no starters. Prices can also be found online by searching for a specific restaurant but don’t take them as set in stone – on our bill of ten items, four were more expensive than on the internet., For example, Diet Coke £2.25 online, £2.30 charged; Pizza Calabrese £11.95 online, £12.15 charged. These are only small increases but they soon add up.

Review by Chef Tony

Rating (out of five): Chef's Knife Chef's Knife Chef's Knife


Chef Tony says: “The service was great with friendly staff. On the whole, the food was good but a few improvements are needed and the prices need reviewing.” 


What: Pizza Express, Bury

Where: Rock Place, The Rock, Bury