My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Pizza Express: A Piccolo menu for my Piccolo People!

"We’re all about top-quality ingredients, and we take pride in everything we create. Quality, for us, begins with our suppliers and finishes with a delicious plate of food at your table."

Last weekend, we, as a family, were invited to Pizza Express to enjoy an evening of wonderful service and delicious food ...

... And this was precisely what we received!

We are no strangers to Pizza Express, so when I told the kids that we were going there for dinner, their reactions were full of excitement and cries of "is it time yet ...?!"

When selecting a restaurant, we chose Upminster (St Mary's Lane), as from experience, the atmosphere there had always been good, and with three children, we wanted somewhere that was spacious enough to accommodate us without any disruption to other customers. We know that, although popular and never low on custom, this location was large enough so not to be full to the brim on our visit. We also know that the staff there are friendly and understanding, as I am sure they are in other areas, and no ask is too big when it comes to the needs of a family.

On arrival, we were greeted at the door by possibly one of the warmest and friendliest waiters we had ever had the joy of meeting. He greeted myself and The Man briefly, before turning all of his attention to the children. He began by telling the girls how pretty they looked, asking them to twirl in their dresses and generally making them feel extremely special, before holding his arms out to Plumlet and asking if he could have a cuddle. I held my breath for a second, as this would quite often be a trigger for a meltdown and a prompt for him to cling to me, but there was obviously something about this particular waiter that appealed to him too, as there was hardly a hesitation, and his affectionate welcome was reciprocated ...

We were shown to our table (he carried Plumlet all the way there!), all the while being asked if the table we had been given was ok or if we would rather select another. A chair was removed to make plenty of space for a highchair and he ensured that we were all seated comfortably before leaving us to fetch our menus. Grown up menus arrived for myself and The Man, and ...

... a special Piccolo menu for each of our piccolo people!

One of the best things about Pizza Express's Piccolo menus for the kids is the activity pack that comes with them. Colouring, puzzles, stickers, a paper hat each and a pot of colouring pencils on the table. No child could possibly get bored or agitated at the table with the pack that gets provided to them. In addition to the regular pack that they get, in line with their current promotion of the new Ice Age movie, Ice Age: Collision Course, which is released in UK cinemas at the end of this week, they also received a themed activity sheet to keep them busy.

The Piccolo menu is varied yet simple, giving children just enough choice to satisfy, but not so much that it causes confusion. For just £6.95, your little people can choose a starter, a main of pizza or pasta, a dessert and they can also enjoy one of Pizza Express's famous Bambinoccino. In addition to this wonderful, child friendly menu, there are also Piccolo inspired drinks available with a choice of natural juice drinks (with no added sugar) or milk.

So first up came the much loved dough balls. Each of the children had their own portion which is just the right size to get the appetite and the tastebuds going. With an accompanying dish of fresh salad and a small pot of delicious garlic butter, they really are the perfect starter. The Man and I had a Dough Ball Formaggi Doppio which is a double portion sharing platter of their amazing dough balls with cheese, which is served with a selection of three dips: pesto, garlic butter and pestorissa (a harissa spiced tomato dip)

The dough ball starter, as always, was a huge hit, and calls of "more dough balls!" was heard more than once! And not just from the kids ...!

Next, came our mains.

"For us, it's all about simple 'secret' dough recipe, which hasn't changed since day one. The very best ingredients - and plenty of passion from our Pizzaiolos."

All 3 children opted for pizzas. Simple but delicious Margherita for Munch and Plumlet and a La Reine for Beastie (anything with mushrooms is a hit with our Beastie!) The pizzas on the Piccolo menu are the perfect size for the children. With Pizza Express's wonderfully famous thin base and the flavour filled toppings, they are a firm favourite with our three!

As for myself and The Man, we both went for the Romana base, which is the Classic base which has been stretched just a little further to make it ever so slightly thinner, allowing the flavours of the toppings to come through even more. I opted for my favourite, the Pollo D'Astra whilst The Man chose the Margherita Buffalo. As always, the food was incredible, and every single bit of it was served to us with a friendly smile and the regular checking that we had everything we needed.

With a little encouragement from our waiter, we also tried a couple of their side dishes, and I'm so glad he recommended what he did! We went for a portion of Polenta Chips for the kids and a dish of Potato Nocciola for the grown ups. Both were absolutely fantastic. It is so obvious, when eating any of the food from Pizza Express, that they only cook with the freshest ingredients. This fact shines through in every single bite!

A number of times during our meal, and in between courses, our waiter approached the table to make sure we had enough to drink and that the children had everything they wanted. Some might think that this service was due to the fact that we were following our visit with a written review, but throughout the evening, we witnessed him delivering the same service to all of his tables and showing lots of attention to all of the children in the restaurant, playing, laughing and joking with all of them. I know for a fact that our three had truly warmed to him, and Plumlet kept turning around in his highchair and calling "hello" to him across the room ... and not once were his calls ignored!

Munch even decorated a paper hat especially for him, and he promised to wear it for the whole of his shift. He certainly kept it on for the entire time that we were there, which made her day!

Finally came the difficult task of choosing from one of their delightful desserts. As I mentioned before, the Piccolo menu includes a dessert for the children, and they were able to choose from either an organic fruit ice lolly, an ice cream sundae with fresh strawberries with fruit or chocolate sauce or one of their amazing chocolate brownies which was also served with fresh cream and a strawberry. The girls decided on a sundae each - Munch with chocolate sauce and Beastie with fruity sauce, and Plumlet chose the brownie. Each of their desserts came on a dish complete with their Bambinoccino which is a warm, frothy, milky drink sprinkled with cocoa powder and served in a mug, the perfect size for little hands! The girls say they feel like they are drinking coffee like the grown ups! Another way in which Pizza Express uses their Piccolo menu to make kids feel special!

As for the 'grown up' desserts, with such a wonderful variety to choose from, it took some deliberation and serious consideration before either of us came to a final decision, but we were both extremely happy with what we chose!

The chocolate fudge cake with fresh cream for The Man ...

... and the Tiramisu for me!

To say our bellies were full by the end of our visit would be an understatement!

However, not only did we walk away from the restaurant with well and truly satisfied appetites, but we also left there satisfied that we had had a truly wonderful family evening. We had been looked after thoroughly by all the staff at Pizza Express, the children had been allowed to be themselves throughout the evening without the fear of upsetting anyone or annoying staff or management, and they had been made to feel so important. They weren't just children who had come out to dinner for the evening with their parents ... they were just as important as any grown up in the room!

If someone were to ask me to recommend a good restaurant to visit with a varied menu, I'd recommend Pizza Express.

If someone were to ask me to recommend a good restaurant to visit with great quality food made with the freshest ingredients, I'd recommend Pizza Express.

If someone were to ask me to recommend a family orientated restaurant who would treat the children as important guests rather than simply an addition to an adult party, I would recommend, whole heartedly, Pizza Express!

A huge thank you to every single staff member at Pizza Express, Upminster, for such a wonderful evening. You were all fantastic, and went above and beyond to ensure both us grown ups and our Piccolo People had a truly glorious evening!

We enjoyed a complimentary meal at Pizza Express for the purpose of this review. No other form of payment was offered and all words and thoughts are 100% our own.


  1. I love your pictures Liz and I've been following them on Instagram too. What a good photographer! You and the Mr? I know he's a bit of a pro isn't he? And your food looks gorgeo too, I love your choice of sides, they're staples for us! And... Wow to your waiter! How good! :-) x

    1. Thank you so much! He is a bit of a pro, but I'm pretty sure these ones are all mine! We had never tried these sides before, but they were amazing and will be tried again. The food was amazing and yes, our waiter was incredible. I hope Pizza Express realise how wonderful he is. Thank you for your comment lovely x

    2. I seen all your pictures on instagram and the food looks amazing! So glad you all had a lovely time :)

  2. I agree with Ruth your photography is amazing. Everything looks good enough to eat ha ha! Literally.
    So sweet to have a few kiddos to try it all.
    With me and Daddy it'll just be Aaron as Lottie is not on solids yet but I know he will love it all. Just been looking at the menus online xx

  3. I have never been to a pizza express before, but it looks great. The dough ball starter looks really nice. And I like that they have crayons and activities for the kids while waiting for their food to arrive

  4. I love pizza express but I would have never thought of taking my little one there. It sounds like you all had a lovely time and the food looks Delish!!!

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

  5. I agree with you Pizza Express is a favourite for us as well. I agree the menu is perfect for kids and the atmosphere is always child friendly. Nice photos and looks like a great waiter. X

  6. I've always like pizza express but haven't actually taken the kids. It looks great. Love the pics x