Monday, 30 August 2010

Favourite Chain

Silly me!  The topic for today is restaurant chains and not the daisy variety.  Still, it's a tenuous excuse to put a pretty picture on my post.

If someone picked a moment when my brain was not engaged and ask me if I visit chain restaurants I would say absolutely not.  It's seems that mentioning this term causes me to visualise scenes from  Super Size Me. But I'm not really adverse to the big chains on health grounds.  It's concerns about animal husbandry and ethical issues about staffing, sourcing and the like that put me off.   But hell, I'm sometimes a hypocrite and succomb to a burger or pizza every so often.  What I find though is that I rarely enjoy, what might be viewed by some as a sinful treat, because the food lacks flavour.

However, I was reminded this weekend that I do like Pizza Express - a lot!  Louis and I visited the Plymouth branch on Saturday and were greeted by wonderfully friendly and helpful staff. The surroundings were atmospheric spite of the restaurant being nearly empty when we arrived.  This was because we had an early lunch after a hunger inducing swim at the nearby Pavillions.  Although I haven't visited Pizza Express for about six years they still have my old favourites on the menu. So Pizza Fiorentina with an egg and spinach topping and their very acceptable baked cheesecake were washed down with a glass of Pinot Grigio (oops! Virtual Lent will resume shortly). The egg was free range and I was asked how I would like it cooked. No problems with tastelessness here although in an ideal world the olives in my topping would be a little more rustic and not the identically sized black pitted variety.

What made our visit really enjoyable was the way that Louis was treated. The kid's menu at £6.10 which includes dough balls, a salad, pizza or pasta, a ice cream sundae and a mock cappucino was excellent value. However, I would add a note of warning for the penny pinchers among you. This is probably a clever marketing ploy to encourage parents to order more courses so they can eat with their children - nevertheless it's a perfect excuse to have that cheesecake! Top marks to our waitress too for her efforts to please him. She chatted about Louis' view that the chef's was an onion johnny and their shared love of Michael Jackson and showed genuine interest in the seven eyed monster that he drew in his colouring book. Louis was so impressed that he pronounced it 'his best meal out ever' so maybe we won't leave such a big time delay before our next visit!

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