It is beginning to feel like I am touring the Pizza Express chain of restaurants. I went to the newly opened Poynton branch a few months ago and last week I wandered into Manchester to see what changes had been made as part of the renovations at the Oxford Street branch.
Gone is the green furniture and the 90s style images that used to adorn the walls. It is lighter and brighter with new chairs, new pictures on the walls and new lighting that gives the place a whole new freshness. I love the open plan kitchen which is up some stairs at the back of the restaurant meaning you can either sit and watch your meal be made or chill out in the large window front and watch the world go by.
Whilst I have been to Pizza Express a few times I decided to go for some healthier options from the menu and see what the none pizza offering was like. I know, I know, but hear me out.
I went for the Risotto Fresco in a starter sized portion to kick things off. The white wine risotto had lots of flavour with the rice still having just the right amount of bite. There are good sized chunks of oak roasted salmon and a gentle heat from the addition of chilli. My friend chose the calamari which is served with a side of tartare sauce. Unfortunately he isn’t a fan and usually prefers a garlic dip which Pizza Express don’t provide although they were happy to bring him some garlic butter instead. The calamari itself was fresh and nicely cooked on the inside although a little overdone on the outside as you can see in the picture.
Sticking with a lighter option I chose the Pollo Salad. It isn’t visually impressive but the flavours of the goats cheese, black olives and toasted croutons make it a bit more interesting than your regular salad although the chicken was a little bland and would have welcomed seasoning. My friend went for the Pollo Forza without peppers which is pretty much just chicken and chilli, there is usually a few different types of peppers! It was tasty all the same with a crispy base and lashings of rich tomato sauce.
The Oxford Street Pizza Express is right near the Palace Theatre so perfect for a pre theatre meal.
I was invited to dine as a guest and not asked to pau for my meal.