11 May 2015

Summer Lovin' - Pizza Express's Summer Menu

This week has been exceptionally hard for me. I am literally counting minutes to my impending vacation where I shall be sipping cocktails on the beach, leaving behind work and all such worldly woes. But time just refuses to pass! And the heat is adding to my misery. It feels like we are sitting inside Satan's Inferno, and the flames are going to eat us alive. Amidst all of this, came one positive that added sparkle to my dull week. A visit to Pizza Express happened!

My name is Zenia Irani, and I am a Pizza Express-o-holic. I love the pizzas there, the Calabrese and Padana being my favourite. And let me not get started on their Baked Vanilla Cheesecake. *wipes drool off her screen* So when invitation bells arrived, to review their Summer Menu I jumped for joy. 

Pizza Express's new summer special menu has both extremes, one will make your summer more bearable, and the other will raise temperatures. The menu comprises drinks and a few mains that are light, refreshing, cooling and perfect for the summer. And then some of their pizzas are fiery, scorching and leave you sweating for more. Depends on how you want to celebrate this festival of heat. 


Having made my way through their limited albeit interesting looking summer menu serving mocktails, pizzas, pastas, and an interesting looking Intro Platter. Vegetarians, you guys may fall short of options here, and it may be a good idea not to proceed reading anymore. Teehee! Making life easier for you readers, I shortlist my three favorite dishes from the Summer menu, and pair them with a refreshing mocktail to beat the heat. So the next time you go, you know exactly what to order. Bon appetit!

Intro Platter paired with Ginger Fresco:
A fab new introduction to the menu, and something I hope they retain is the Intro Platter (Rs 250/-). On one half lay salted cashews, smoked almonds, and BBQ flavoured broad beans intermingling together. On the other half lay beautiful, tangy, sweet Peppadews - a capsicum variant from South Africa - that came stuffed with finely diced portobello mushrooms and goats cheese. Our wonderful server for the night, guides us on how to go about eating this - pop the peppadew in your mouth and follow it up with a handful of the nuts. The result was a wonderful amalgamation of different flavours in your mouth coming from the peppadew, cheese, and saltiness of the nuts, as well as a host of different textures. Bee described this dish as a 'beautiful bar snack' and something that would go well with a cocktail on the side. An elaborate, exquisite 'chakna' if I may.

Intro Platter

Pair this with a Ginger Fresco (Rs. 175/-) a combination of ginger, mint, green lime, and ginger ale served in a cute mason jar. This refreshingly fresh drink appealed to even a non-ginger lover like me. The right amount of pungency from the ginger paired with the right amount of sweet, makes it perfectly cooling to be had alongside the platter. Had it been spiked with alcohol, phir toh aur mazza aa jaata! 

Ginger Fresco
Pollo Coriander Pesto Pizza paired with Mango Berry Smoothie:
Amidst growing requests from diners for more India inspired pizzas on their menu, Pizza Express goes ahead and brings us this. The Pollo Coriander Pesto Pizza (Rs. 625/-) is a beautiful, thin crust Romana pizza toppped with creamy chicken tikka, onion rings, green chilli, mozarella, and drizzled with coriander pesto. It tastes just like eating a delicious desi malai tikka kebab with onion slices and a green chutney doppelganger in the form of the coriander pesto, that sits atop a pizza base. If you're a fan of Indianized flavours on your pizza, get this with both eyes closed. Bee enjoyed this one thoroughly, whereas the next pizza I write about was more up my alley.

Pollo Coriander Pesto
Pair this with a Mango Berry Smoothie (Rs 325/-) to continue the love of all things desi. This mango-strawberry-yogurt concoction is rich and sweet courtesy the mango, with an aftertaste of tart berries that linger. This one will remind you slightly of aamras, or a mango lassi, and purely for the slight Indian resemblance it has, I pair it with the Pollo Coriander Pesto.

Mango Berry Smoothie
American Hottest Pizza with Tropical:
My favorite pizza of the night was the American Hottest (Rs. 725). This was not only because it was so meat laden, but also because it was so damn delicious! Here you'll find pepperoni, jalapenos, red chilli, hot Italian N'duja sausage, passatta and a drizzle of chilli oil on your pizza. All of these make the pizza hot and spicy, but the presence of town buffalo mozzarella interspersed helps cut out the spice. It is a beautiful twist to their conventional pepperoni pizza called American Hot, and will definitely raise temperatures.

American Hottest
Pair this with the Tropical (Rs. 195/-) a cool watermelon juice, seasoned with mint and lemon to provide some tang. This simple, no-fuss drink is the perfect accompaniment to balance the heat from the pizza.

Left: Mango Berry Smoothie
Right: Tropical
And I save the best for the last. No matter what you eat at Pizza Express, leaving without devouring their Baked Vanilla Cheesecake (Rs. 340/-) is criminal. This is one of the best cheesecakes this city has to offer, and proves simplicity is everything. Moist, creamy, and subtly flavored - pair this with vanilla ice cream and nirvana shall be attained. 

Baked Vanilla Cheesecake
At a few Pizza Express outlets you can opt for a Trio of Desserts - cheesecake, chocolate fudge cake and tiramisu. Unfortunately the BKC outlet does not serve alcohol due to licensing issues which meant no tiramisu or cocktails for me. I would've loved to see the Mango Baked Cheesecake return on their summer special menu which I remember eating last summer. Also the pasta options looked relatively dull and can be skipped.

Hot or cold, however you'd like to celebrate summers, there's an option at Pizza Express. These are my picks from the summer menu, let me know yours? The summer special menu is available all this month across Pizza Express outlets in the city - Andheri East, Andheri West, Bandra Kurla Complex, Colaba, Powai and Thane.
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