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Kura's London Restaurant Review (Part 1)

Posted January 20th, 2014 at 12:48 PM by Kura
Updated January 20th, 2014 at 1:05 PM by Kura

Hey everyone! Long time no blog, huh? I thought to hit you guys with something new!
I've got two restaurants for you; one great, and one that's not so great. Let's start with the not so great one! And I'll write about the great one at a later date!

Pizza Express- Balham
47 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9EY


So for all of those that might not be aware, Pizza Express is your standard chain-pizzeria in the UK. They're not a fast-food place like Domino's, but rather a pizza/pasta restaurant. I wouldn't call them an Italian restaurant because their food is a far cry from even the most standard Italian eateries, but their pizzas aren't an American thick-crust style either. Let's settle with European thin-crust pizzeria.

Anyway, the area is quite a nice area, and the photo doesn't do the restaurant justice here (I just grabbed one off the web.) The space was actually really nice, too, and we were seated promptly. We went on a Sunday afternoon and it wasn't too crowded. Expecting to use a 3 courses for £13.75 voucher (which is about $20CND) I thought that'd be a pretty good deal to share if we were going to upgrade our pizza to a larger sized one.

Here's the low-down for people who want to skip the wordy bits:

Wasn't great, especially for the price. (Before you glance at the picture and make your own conclusion, keep reading!) The starter was nice (Garlic bread with cheese) but small. The main... didn't necessarily taste bad, but it was so sparingly topped that I felt like I was eating a soft tortilla with tomato sauce. I mean.. seriously the thing only had five olives on the whole pizza. When I order a large pizza for £11.50 (standard price without our deal.. which is $18) that's supposed to be topped with prosciutto, olives, mushrooms, and mozzarella, I expect to get more than 5 olives on that pizza (and maybe actual prosciutto instead of cured british ham.) I actually found a photo online that "glamourized" it. But it still looks horribly overcooked and.. well.. missing any ounce of actual cheese or topping-

I was still hungry after eating my half, and it was a large 22". We decided then to order two desserts.
One was a "chocolate fudge cake" which was indeed chocolate, but not fudgey at all. Also, the picture on the menu was incredibly misleading as it came out being only half the size as what was being shown. It was your standard grocery-store-shelf-bought slice of chocolate cake, but would have cost £5.20 alone if bought without the deal.
The second was a cheesecake with raspberry coulis. Sounded lovely on paper, but it was stale and tasteless and the same measly size as the chocolate cake slice when it arrived. The raspberry coulis was just some sort of raspberry drizzle squirted overtop, and.. the rest was just.. well.. tasteless and stale, like I said. It actually made my stomach hurt and feel hard after eating it.. which I didn't realize until I was done because I was just that famished.

Unfortunately, the service could not save this one. While our waitress was lovely and we could see the fact that she was trying to pick up the slack of some other server who was just pretending to be busy, the food, in my opinion, was just that bad that I could not justify ever coming back. I would have a better meal with a Sainsbury's frozen pizza and a beer from home. It was kind of like she was trying to warn us that the food wasn't that great or filling because she seemed apprehensive about my choices. Oh well, we left a tip for her anyway because of the effort- and it isn't her fault that the food was disappointing.

Overall: 2/10. Skip the dessert entirely- even the icecream was boring. The pizza wasn't horrible, but wasn't great. The whole menu is overpriced (at least our choices were.)
Funny enough, Pizza Express make their own pizza packaged in the grocery store. I've tried them and they were better than what was in this restaurant.
Maybe not all their chains prepared their pizza as badly as I experienced, or maybe elsewhere they kept fresher dessert, but this is not one experience I would try again. There are better pizza places in London. (ASK and Rossopomodoro just to name two.)

Hope you enjoyed my review! Let me know what you'd like to hear about more next time (atmosphere? more pictures? etc.)
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  1. Old Comment
    droomph's Avatar

    Posted January 20th, 2014 at 3:43 PM by droomph droomph is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Fairy's Avatar
    I think you covered the restaurant well! Regarding your review, I feel like I've gotten a pretty good idea of what to expect if I ever went there. I especially appreciate how you covered price ranges, seeing as that has become very important nowadays. All in all, I believe your review was very successful, Kura. Good job. :)

    What I would like to hear of, however, is the cleanliness of the restaurant. Is the seating comfortable, was everything orderly, were certain areas are "sticky" for lack of better term. How clean the restaurant is can be a big deciding factor for some people.

    Also, more pictures that detail what you're discussing would be great. Getting my own visual ques makes me feel like I can still form my own opinion of the establishment.

    Be sure to touch on things like; how big was the menu. Are they trying to please everyone? Or does the food reflect theme? There's no point in an Indian restaurant if they serve McNuggets, you know what I mean?

    Really happy to see this kind of blogging too. It's refreshing compared to the usual. Please keep it up! :)
    Posted January 20th, 2014 at 4:19 PM by Fairy Fairy is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Kura's Avatar
    Last time I've been to the Olive Garden was when I was about 10 years old. Unfortunately, there are no Olive Gardens close by to me that's a viable option to travel to.

    But if you want a little list of places (that are chains) I am not a fan of, and that I'd avoid, it now includes this review along with:
    Nandos (which I would never visit again because I do not like the concept of seating and serving yourself, yet having to tip???? along with their shockingly all-spicy menu with no -truly- mild option, and horrible chavvy people the place tends to attract.)
    And Starbucks because.. well, I'm just not a fan of their coffee at all. Their cakes are alright, but I rather visit a different cafe if given the choice- especially if the choice is an artisan bakery.
    That reminds me, I'm not a huge fan of Patisserie Valerie either, even though they market themselves as higher-end.. I've not been that impressed by their cakes. Their coffee was nice at least.

    Strawberry: Shall do! For my next review I'll be sure to include those things. :3
    Posted January 20th, 2014 at 4:24 PM by Kura Kura is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Mana's Avatar
    yet having to tip????
    No such thing :P don't tip if you don't feel it's deserved. It's not the US, afterall, there is a minimum wage.
    Posted January 21st, 2014 at 8:43 AM by Mana Mana is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Kura's Avatar
    Originally Posted by Magic Fox View Comment
    No such thing :P don't tip if you don't feel it's deserved. It's not the US, afterall, there is a minimum wage.
    Service charge was added to the bill before we even sat. It's weird, they reserve a table with a number for you.. you have to order, pay, and they just carry it to your table or ring some bell for you to pick it up. Shocking for a restaurant, IMO. Nandos acts more like a fast food chain than anything.
    Posted January 21st, 2014 at 10:21 AM by Kura Kura is offline