I used to avoid Pizza Express like the plague. One too many times being told that the only thing I could eat was the salad leaves (no dressing, no croutons, eugh) had led to me crossing the restaurant off my list.
I was overjoyed when last year there was a sudden influx of Italian restaurants doing the gluten-free thing, and finally, FINALLY I could order a gluten-free pizza at a restaurant, without having to take my own base or worry (too much) about cross-contamination. Pizza Express, Zizzi, Bella Italia, Pizza Hut…and er, Domino’s. Pizza Express is the one I keep returning to. Here’s why.
First off, they have a great gluten-free menu. Pizza Express have clearly put some effort into making this.
From their website:
‘We’ve worked hard to ensure that you can be fully confident of no issues on entering any PizzaExpress. This includes changing processes in our kitchens – including labelling and storage, using new equipment only for gluten-free food, as well as changing the flour we use for tossing and stretching our dough to be gluten-free.’
Everything suitable is clearly labelled with a GF symbol, and all their gluten-free dishes have been accredited by Coeliac UK. You don’t have to faff around cross-checking the menu with the waiter, or ask for the SPECIAL AWKWARD PEOPLE MENU, you can simply order and get on with the important things (drinking wine and chatting to best friends). They actually have a decent amount of options that are gluten-free or can be made gluten-free, so you don’t feel like you are missing out on choice. Here on their website they have a menu just with the gluten-free options, even including a gluten-free beer!
Secondly, they’re everywhere! You can’t swing a cat without hitting a Pizza Express in London. While I don’t view it as the most special place to eat – the branches are all pretty much the same and can feel a bit lacking in atmosphere/personality – it is so good to have a place that you know you can get an OK and reasonably-priced gluten-free meal at short notice. Keep an eye out for their special offers; this week I ate there with a 40% discount, bringing my pizza to a grand total of about £4.50. It is worth signing up for their newsletter to get notified of these. You can also use your Tastecard in most branches for a jammy 2-4-1 on your mains.
Third…ly? The important bit: the pizza itself. Though I have heard mixed reviews from other coeliac bloggers online, I have always had good luck with my Pizza Express pizzas. At the top is the one I had this week; perfectly cooked, good amount of topping and big enough to be filling. The base doesn’t break, though it doesn’t stretch out in quite the same delicious way as my homemade Isabel’s Pizza bases. It tastes good! It doesn’t beat my aforementioned homemade one, but when you’re out and about and hungry, it hits all the right spots.