Southend PizzaExpress Pays Tribute to Southend with New Look Ria September 30, 2016 Food & Drink, Local Business, Southend 1 Comment Southend PizzaExpress is paying homage to our local history with its new and improved look! Framed black and white photographs of Southend-on-Sea adorn the walls, featuring seaside scenes from the sixties including sunbathers at the beach and thrill-seekers at the Kursaal amusement park. The iconic Southend and seaside-themed illustrations (created by local artists) are printed onto reclaimed wood, along with a large vintage map of the Southend-on-Sea area, driving a love for our town firmly into the heart of this PizzaExpress restaurant. Even with such traditional seaside décor, the restaurant still retains that contemporary restaurant design which we would expect from a PizzaExpress. The coastal colour palette is modern yet humble in the neutrality of its tones, with its cool blues and yellow accent in the lighting and tiling. But possibly the biggest restaurant change is the expansion of the restaurant. The outdoor terrace, which previously only saw seasonal use, has been removed to allow for more indoor seating. This in turn has visually opened up the interior, and the large windows I can imagine by day let in a lot of natural lighting. In the evenings, however, you can expect soft spot lighting and pizza by candlelight! Manager, Marco Bertella, has said: “We love our restaurant’s new look and have a friendly and enthusiastic team who are looking forward to welcoming everyone over a delicious pizza.” If you plan on dining here, I would strongly suggest booking a table in advance unless you don’t mind waiting for a table! Though the restaurant now has more seating than before, PizzaExpress packs a lot of people pretty quickly. Bearing in mind that the size of the kitchen hasn’t increased with the refurbishment, it’s incredible to watch the pizzaiolos at work in the open kitchen with such impressive efficiency without compromising on quality at all. But how’s the food? Interested in PizzaExpress’ new “Taste of Autumn” menu, I ordered the Passion Fruit Lemonade and the Basilicata Romana pizza for my main. From the main menu, I ordered the calamari for starters. Drinks were brought quickly to the table after ordering, along with a bowl of large, juicy green olives and garlic with chilli flakes. Olives aren’t for everyone, but I personally love olives so they were a very welcome addition to the table. The starters arrived not long after. The calamari was to die for. The crispy batter loosely encasing the juicy calamari rings was perfect with a squeeze of lemon, dripped in chilli oil and dipped in garlic sauce. Also to the table, we had bruschetta con funghi, which looked decadently creamy. Certainly not a dish for a toddler – it could get messy! My main dish, the Basilicata Romana from the Taste of Autumn menu, was a unique treat. Though I’m not sure what “Autumn” is supposed to taste like exactly, but the colours did look very seasonal. The Basilicata Romana, inspired by the cuisine of the Basilicata region of Southern Italy, was delicious and unlike any other pizza I have ever had before. The Mediterranean flavours of the chilli lamb meatballs with mint, pesto and shaved Gran Milano cheese made for a uniquely mouth-watering combination, topped off with a generous scattering of rocket. All this on a large crispy-thin crust, however, don’t expect to easily pick up pizza slices with your hands. But there’s nothing wrong with that! And I found that eating the pizza with a knife and fork allowed me to get more flavour into each bite. (I really do recommend trying this pizza before it’s removed from the menu!) Needless to say… neither one of us could finish our pizza. Thankfully, Southend PizzaExpress is equipped to handle such situations in which guests are defeated by their large pizzas, and takeaway boxes are readily available to bring home the rest. “For breakfast tomorrow!”, Marco suggests with a big smile. And the cappuccino at the end was the perfect way to finish the meal. All in all, the staff were friendly and quick to accommodate. They seemed to have an instinctive way of being attentive but never intrusive. When they’re serving a table, they seemed to be very focused on the customers they’re speaking to without becoming distracted, and the sense to not too frequently “interrupt” the table to check that everyone’s happy. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask for, but it always surprises me how some restaurant staff lack the ability to talk to you like a real person instead of just another face at a table. So thank you to all Southend PizzaExpress staff for being so pleasant to engage with, it really does enhance the dining experience. The food was fantastic, the ambiance was relaxed, and it’s always nice to see staff smiling. Book a table at Southend PizzaExpress: https://www.pizzaexpress.com/southend-on-sea Present this voucher to your waiter for 30% off your food! Click here to download the voucher to your phone. Terms and conditions apply. They are printed on the voucher. Southend PizzaExpress is now also available for delivery with Deliveroo in Southend! The “PizzaExpressMas” Christmas menu is coming soon. Book before 1st November and enjoy £10 off your next visit!