The Anonymous Widower

The Troubles At Pizza Express

This article on the BBC is entitled Pizza Express Set For Talks Over £1bn Debt Pile.

For many coeliacs like myself, who travel all over the UK,, the failure of Pizza Express or even a cutback in the number of restaurants would be a bit of a disaster.

I stayed the night in Preston on Saturday and the only place I trust to serve a safe gluten-free meal there, is the Pizza Express.

I didn’t actually use the restaurant on Saturday night, as the weather was so bad, I went straight to bed and then in the morning, went quickly to Manchester Piccadilly station for a decent gluten-free breakfast at Leon.

If Pizza Express closes branches in places like Preston, then it will make my journeys around the country a lot more difficult.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

The Pizza Restaurant With No Cheese

Last night, two friends and myself, tried to have pizzas at Pizza Express in Walthamstow.

We left, as they’d run out of cheese.

It is not the standard I expect from this chain of restaurants.

But in the past, I’ve also found their Walthamstow restaurant had no gluten-free pizza dough and offered terrible service.

I doubt, I’ll be going again!

January 2, 2018 Posted by | Food | , | 2 Comments

A Pre-Match Meal In Ipswich

Yesterday, it was football at Ipswich at 19:45 due to SKY, so it was an early train to avoid the rush hour and a pre-match meal in Pizza Express on the waterfront.

PX is the only really coeliac-friendly restaurant in the town centre. I’ve yet to find a good Indian one, close to the football ground.

PX was heaving, so it does appear that the demand might be coming up in the town, which in my view and those of some of my friends is a restaurant graveyard. I always wondered if East Suffolk people go to bed early, ever since my father and I used to walk home from his club in Felixstowe at about 21:30 and see all the houses cmpletely dark.

But getting to and from the quay and PX in the dark is a walker’s nightmare, with uneven pavements and all sorts of barriers everywhere. How many drunks will tip into the dock?

However there did seem to be a lot of good development going on at the waterfront, but knowing Ipswich as I do, I doubt that it will be complete for upwards of five to ten years.

The quay might end up as a good place to go, but it’s not that close to the town centre, the railway station and the other attractions in the town, like Christchurch Mansion, the Wolsey Theatre and the football ground.

If ever a town was crying out for a free circular bus-route that ran around the town centre like Manchester’s Metroshuttle, it is Ipswich!

At least though the meal was good and walking down the hill to the restaurant from the station was easy, even if I didn’t find the quickest route back to the football ground in the dark. In the light, I’d have had the liths to guide me!

I shall go again in the light!

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Food, Transport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

A Wet Night In Islington

I needed supper last night and although I had food in the fridge, I went to Pizza Express at the Angel.

The great advantage is that the bus stop is right outside the restaurant.

So although, the rain was amazing, I didn’t get too wet.

The gluten-free pizza was good too!

September 13, 2013 Posted by | Food, Transport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

An Incident In Pizza Express

Last night, I went to a new-for-me Pizza Express in Curtain Road, close to Shoreditch High Street station.

I always have the same meal in Pizza Express, and that’s a bottle of Aspall Cyder and a gluten-free caprisiosa pizza. The pizza comes on a slate.

Gluten-Free Pizza At Pizza Express

Gluten-Free Pizza At Pizza Express

It was of the usual high standard and was exactly like the one in the picture, which I took in their restaurant in Islington.

But when I started to cut it, with their pizza cutter, the action set up a vibration, which meant the various bottles and glasses on my table started to migrate about.

I didn’t notice what was happening, until I heard the half-drunk bottle of Aspall cyder fall on the floor, where it didn’t break, but proceeded to spin, spilling some of the cyder on the floor.

I retrieved the bottle and I judged very little had been split, despite the fall as it virtually filled my half-pint glass. A half-pint glass is 284 cl.  and the bottle of cyder is 330 cl. But I had had a long drink before the bottle fell.

I think the incident shows the strength of the Aspall bottles, which were brought in to save glass.

June 30, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , | Leave a comment

Pizza Express and Aspall Cyder

I went back to Pizza Express at the Angel, this evening.

No problems at all, but the pizza seemed to be better than the last time. Not that it was bad in any way then.

The waitress was a bit worried that I drank the Aspall Cyder, as it is not marked as gluten-free on their menu.

I have had assurances from one of the owners of the manufacturers that it is gluten-free. But even if it is not, it certainly doesn’t affect me.

Last summer, I had a full allergy test, to try to get to the bottom of my rhinitis.  They couldn’t find any traces of gluten in my body, and as I drink quite a bit of Aspall cyder, it would have showed up positive, if any gluten had been present.

You can’t blame the waitress for being careful.  But I just don’t like the Green’s beer!

Anyway, I was conceived in Suffolk, just like Aspall’s cyder.

As I write this post, I’ve got another bottle of Aspall on the go!

May 13, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , , | 1 Comment

Gluten-Free Pizza At Pizza Express

For many years, Sunday afternoons and evenings for C and myself had a rhymn. We would go to the cinema at either the Cambridge Picturehouse or the Cineworld and then we’d go for a pizza  in Pizza Express, often at the Pitt Club, where I always had a Capricciosa. This pattern stopped in the early 2000s, when I was diagnosed as a coeliac, so sometimes I would have a salad Niçoise, or more likely we’d go to an Indian restaurant.

But all that has now changed, in that Pizza Express have produced a new very coeliac-friendly menu. This is the gluten-free page.

Last night, I went with two friends to the newly-refurbished Pizza Express at The Angel in Islington. We sat upstairs and for an avid street watcher like myself, it is a great place to sit.

I started with a bottle of my favourite long drink; Aspall Cyder.

Aspall Cyder At Pizza Express

Aspall Cyder At Pizza Express

They also have Green’s gluten-free beer, but I do prefer my Celia, when it comes to beer. The cyder is better than both with pizza.

I also had a Capricciosa, for the first time in perhaps ten years.

Gluten-Free Pizza At Pizza Express

Gluten-Free Pizza At Pizza Express

It tasted just like it did all of those years ago.

I think a personal tradition of a film followed by pizza is going to be revived.  all I need now is an attractive lady with whom to enjoy the experience.

I think too, you can’t accuse Pizza Express of being backward about going forward.

Advertising In Stereo

Advertising In Stereo

These two signs were outside.

My only problem, is that near me, there isn’t a Pizza Express with the quality of building of the Pitt Club in Cambridge.

I have a feeling that in a few years time, this will rate as one of the most significant events in dining out for coeliacs in the UK.

I wasn’t diagnosed as a child, but it must be very difficult, for both a coeliac child and their parents, when say at a birthday party, they get invited to a family restaurant.  Now they can at least eat pizza.

I think it is going to start a ripple in the various chains of restaurants, as they’ll have to follow suit.  After all, Carluccio’s and Jamie’s Italian, already operate a sensible policy on gluten-free food, and I suspect others do.

It’ll certainly make things much easier for me on my travels.  It’s already happened in Ipswich, in that the town has two Pizza Express restaurants. It’s just a pity, neither is close to Portman Road.

This will probably mean that the UK, will become one of the most coeliac-friendly countries for coeliacs to visit.

May 6, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Checking On Pizza Express

I walked past the Pizza Express in Islington this morning and looked at the menu outside to see about the gluten-free offering.

The Menu Outside Pizza Express, Islington

The Menu Outside Pizza Express, Islington

Note the gluten-free beer, although I think, I would prefer the Aspall Cyder.

The gluten-free statement is strong and comes with a NGCI symbol.  This apparently means No Gluten Containing Ingredients. This is an accreditation from Coeliac-UK. Read about it here.

As it was early and the place was empty of customers, I went inside and talked to one of the staff. She showed me the serving area and allowed me to take this picture.

Cake at Pizza Express

Cake at Pizza Express

Note the “contains gluten” sticker.

The whole system they have put in seems to be very professional and as fail-safe as you can make it.

The lady I spoke to, said that all restaurants will be offering exactly the same menu.

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

Pizza Express’s Professional Approach To Gluten-Free

If they’ve got it right, which I suspect they have as it’s a big pitch, Pizza Express have taken a bold approach to adding gluten-free to their menus. You open their web site and on the right is a large block labelled GLUTEN FREE.  Click it and you learn that they talk about 100% taste, risotto, brownies and even gluten-free Pilsner. They even reverse the usual dishes you can have to ones you should avoid.

They also say that their approach has been endorsed by Coeliac-UK.

I shall definitely be trying them out in the next few days.

At least it gives me somewhere to have lunch in Ipswich, when I watch the football!

May 2, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pizza Express in Swansea

I made very little progress in finding a gluten-free restaurant in Swansea, so it had to be a tuna salad with a glass of wine at Pizza Express.

It was a great improvement on my dreadful trip to Coventry, where the waitress had learned her trade by watching Catherine Tate videos. But saying that, Pizza Express in Leeds had been very good too.

Swansea is also a Pizza Express with good views of the old Swansea Castle.

Swansea Castle

The waiter also told me how to find the Liberty Stadium, which wasn’t shown on any direction signs or maps.

April 26, 2011 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | Leave a comment