What did I ever do to you, Pizza Express?
I have been a loyal customer of the Pizza Express franchise for far more years than I care to mention. Indeed, proximity to a Pizza Express outlet is one of the must-have-items on C’s criteria for moving house, along with a Waitrose and other such necessities. Pizza Express is an eating-out experience that we have enjoyed very much together. Typically we would do so about once a month.
Over the years, Pizza Express has been a comfort zone. We would escape there to get away from our mad, noisy neighbour, Val. We would meet with friends and family. We would plan our holidays and put the world to right. It was a safe place where the food and service was familiar and the atmosphere amenable to conversation, celebrity spotting and people watching alike.
The Pizza Express at Wilmslow and at Knutsford have been our regular haunts of late, with occasional forays to Manchester and Cheshire Oaks when doing a spot of shopping. C would have a (small) glass of the Montepulciano, and I would partake of a Peroni Gran Riserva, while we peruse the menu.
I am not sure why we bother with the menu as C would invariably select a Fiorentina with a runny egg, and I would have a……now wait…..No, no, no, no. They have bloody well gone and done it again. They have removed my favourite from the menu!!
Back in the day I used to really enjoy the ham, egg and dough balls in tomato sauce. Until they removed it from the menu. Then I used to like the Neptune, with tuna, anchovy, olives and hard-boiled egg. Until it also disappeared from the menu. Then I moved to the Capriciossa (especially when it came with ham hock). Disappeared. The Da Morire. Gone.
All of my favourites have disappeared over the years. And now the Pizza Express chain has been sold to a Chinese venture capital company. And, they have just launched a new menu. I don’t think the Chinese do pizza. I think they have pizza and pasta mixed up. Which is why they now do a Carbonara pizza with a béchamel sauce base – perfectly acceptable with a bowl of spaghetti, but on a pizza base it just sounds like something that the cat might have thrown up. The new seafood option is the Mare Rossa – prawn and oak-roasted salmon with tenderstem broccoli,spinach, garlic, chilli flakes and mozzarella on a lobster bisque, béchamel and passata base, finished with fresh parsley and Gran Moravia cheese. I won’t be eating any of that pretentious twaddle either.
Why are they messing with a good thing? Why are they fixing something that ain’t broke? Why are they picking on me!
So, Pizza Express, is this how you reward decades of loyal service? You are almost as bad as the time when KFC ran out of chicken on me. Shame on you. 😦