What’s it like in Wokingham’s new PizzaExpress?

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PizzaExpress
Broad Street
Wokingham RG40 1AU
0118 977 0826
www.pizzaexpress.com

THE NEW-LOOK PizzaExpress is a restaurant of two halves: the new kitchen area is towards the front, while the back area is a light and spacious conservatory area with plenty of seating.

The branch in Broad Street has reopened following an extensive refurbishment and is one of the first in the country to be revamped in this way.

A new kitchen has been built in the heart of the store, which owners say will bring the theatre and authenticity of PizzaExpress’ craft to the fore.

Special lighting has been installed that will help diners watch the chefs – known as pizzaiolos – prepare pizza dough.

Diners can enjoy sitting at white marble tables and the firm says that the new teal, yellow and rose furnishings complement the re-design further.

The restaurant has a new summer menu where there is an emphasis on vegetarian and vegan choices, there is also a section devoted to Leggera range – all are under 600 calories. PizzaExpress can make all its pizzas this way except for Fiorentina, as there’s no space for the egg.

Families will be pleased there is a children’s menu, offering three courses and a bambinoccino for a wallet-pleasing £7.25. Our son went for his favourite, a pepperoni, which was devoured with relish.

PizzaExpress Wokingham
The simple Margherita

Our daughter is slightly older so went for a simple Margherita from the classic menu (£8.95): simply mozzarella and tomato, this pleased her.

PizzaExpress Wokingham
The new Roasted Veg and Ricotta pizza at PizzaExpress Wokingham

My wife tried the new Roasted Veg and Ricotta (£14.40) pizza. This came with Roasted pepper, courgette and aubergine with tomato, basil, mozzarella, creamy ricotta and Garlic oil finished with slow-roasted tomatoes and shaved Gran Milano cheese.

It was a massive pizza and she had to take it home to finish there. She loved it though and appreciated the ricotta instead of goats’ cheese, which can sometimes blight vegetarian choices.

And my choice was the equally new Fughi di Bosco (£14.40), a pizza loaded with portobello mushroom, tomato, mozzarella, rosemary and garlic oil, finished with fresh parsley and shaved Gran Milano cheese.

It looked fantastic and, well, being a bit of Mr Greedy, it was devoured in one sitting.

PizzaExpress Wokingham
Halloumi Bites

There are some new items on the starters side of things. We tried the new Halloumi Bites (£4.50) – halloumi baked in crisp, golden breadcrumbs served with Italian tomato dip. Very moreish, the die sized bites were great for sharing.

Other new starters include Garlic King Prawns (£6.75) and Pea, Broad Bean and Mint Arancini (£6.40) – risotto balls coated served with white bean and basil puree and fresh rocket.

The dessert menu is extensive and includes Italian choices such as Tiramisu. Children can choose from chocolate brownie, piccolo sundae, or the Pup organic ice lollies, which includes one with vegetables – sssh, don’t tell them!

My wife enjoyed the Chocolate Fudge Cake (£5.95), which lived up to its description of being a moist rich chocolate cake with chocolate fudge icing.

PizzaExpress Wokingham
The Locus Biscoff Cheesecake

The Lotus biscoff cheesecake (£5.50) was my choice: the cheesecake was topped with a biscoff, so it looked a bit like an ice cream slider. Just the right size for a sweet without being too much. Coffee is organic, fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certified, which means it’s guilt-free as well as delicious.

Service was friendly and well-paced. We didn’t feel rushed or ignored, which is crucial, especially with younger diners.

But being at the back, we didn’t get to see the theatre we’d hoped for – a table at the front of the house would make the stage that is the kitchen come alive.

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