Chain restaurants have a way of killing any sort of impulsive, off-the-cuff, why-not mood you're in. Generally, they churn out the same food, branch after branch, spew the same menu and its gets exhaustive in minutes. Pizza Express in Beckenham, however has recently been refurbished, so the new, but not really, restaurant was worth a visit
Or at least my colleagues and I thought we'd give the shiny-almost-new restaurant a go, last week as we celebrated our colleague's birthday. Going for lunch with work mates is a favourite of mine because it breaks up the monotony of the day and adds an extra je ne sais quoi to the otherwise mundane Monday.
Lighting up the high street
Aside from what it brings to the table from a work perspective, Pizza Express is fresh, has a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere and is well-lit so you can note the birthday-girl's joy and surprise when the staff bring our the celebration cake which we sneaked in when she wasn't looking.
We weren't the only ones celebrating however. We spotted two prams and a large group of children with their parents at the back of the restaurant. It's always nice to know a venue is kid-friendly.
Our group of four all chose different dishes: lasagne, two pizzas, dough balls and a salad were brought to our table.
I chose the chicken salad. It was superb. Fresh flavours married with the almost tart, but generous globs of buffalo mozzarella against the butternut squash, spinach, avocado and chicken, more than satisfied me.
Considering pizza express is, obviously, a pizza 'place', I was impressed with the (huge) salad. My - large - salad and small bottle of water only cost £11. We were served quickly too - bonus when you think we only had an hour to eat.