Pizza Express has always been a great place to go as a family. Maybe it’s because the kids will eat everything on the menu without protest. Maybe it’s because the nice white plates and crockery mean that Mummy and Daddy feel like grown ups. Or maybe it’s because every Pizza Express restaurant still has a sprinkling of that Kettner’s decadence (where you might have spotted the likes of Oscar Wilde and Bing Crosby sipping champagne in the piano bar). And that, in itself, is enough to warrant wearing high heels.
Pizza Express are currently running a ‘Doughball Adventure competition’ to win family holidays, books, games and camping gear. They kindly invited us – and our three little doughballs – for dinner at their Stratford Theatre Square restaurant.
On arrival, the smiling waitress didn’t baulk at the sight of my eldest two rushing around the restaurant or their Dad steering a Bugaboo. Or indeed comment on the fact that we were 15 minutes late. Instead, with a knowing look, she suggested I have a large glass of wine.
Kids’ meals at Pizza Express are straightforward and simple; pizza, pasta, dessert – plus ample crayons and puzzles. Apple juice came with straws; we were offered plastic cups but the kids promised not to spill anything. I gave them stern looks. (It was Daddy who actually did accidentally break a water glass – oops!)
Doughballs are – obviously – an integral (and delicious) part of the Pizza Express dining experience. But they are also – as we newly discovered – great for a teething baby to chomp on. The competition Pizza Express are currently running involves making up a story with a doughball as the star, Mummy’s story: Mummy had a nice glass of wine and the baby was quiet for ten minutes.
I’m a creature of habit. Every time I eat at Pizza Express I have exactly the same thing: salad nicoise. Why? Because we never have it at home (“Ewww, Mum, what are all those funny green things?”)
As we were eating, the manager came over and whispered to the big ones that if they finished their pizzas they could make their own ice creams. He maybe hadn’t envisaged quite how keen they were for this; speed scoffing and then ‘forming an orderly queue’ ensued.
As promised though, they were given the ice cream to scoop, strawberries to garnish and a lovely retro glass ice cream dish to eat from. Five-year-old troughed through his chocolate one, three-year-old was so tired from all the excitement he practically fell asleep in his.
And the story-writing? Eldest son’s story went like this: once upon a time a doughball went camping, He took his bow and arrow and caught a pheasant.
Middle child’s: once upon a time a doughball had the best day ever. The End,