Pizza Express. Hmmm. Now I have reviewed a lot of pizza places recently and have found them all somewhat lacking. From Franco Manca in Brixton (here) to Pizza East (here) and Storey Deli (here) over in Shoreditch they are all a bit… well… disappointing. London as yet doesn’t seem to have a trace of the pizza greatness that resides in NY or Italy. Even Turkey’s pizza equivalent – lahmacun – is better served in this country in Green Lanes.
Now I know that another blogger – Young and Foodish (blog here) – has started a laudable project to educate people about good pizza in London but I have a slight suspicion that any pizza in London can only offer attempt and edifice. That said I have to disclaim I haven’t been to one of his #PizzaTuesday nights and am super keen to try his recommendation of Datte Foco (as it does look rather good) but I otherwise remain sceptical that London can offer anything substantive in the worldwide pizza stakes. It just doesn’t have the heritage you can find in Italy or the artisan and competitive passion you can find in NY.
So when I went to Pizza Express what did I expect? Quite honestly not much. I am a big fan of Francesco Mazzei’s L’Anima (glimpse of it here) and enjoyed a pizza I had there. Still a collaboration between Francesco Mazzei and Pizza Express, was that ever going to revolutionise my opinion of Pizza Express? No.
I am afraid this is a not a story of low expectations and unexpected results. We went to Pizza Express. We tried Francesco Mazzei’s Pizza Calabrese and Pizza Bianca and they were fine. They were Pizza Express pizzas with new toppings. Still this is also not a story of horror or surprise. I went to Pizza Express and I got what I paid for. I can’t complain that it wasn’t cooked in special handbuilt pizza ovens with bricks flown in from Italy and that it wasn’t wood fired as this isn’t what they sell. What Pizza Express sell is fast efficient consistent food and that is what we got. To say I was horrified by the food is a bit like going to McDonalds and asking why they don’t use wagyu beef.