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77. Pizza Express

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Classification: Artisan

Location: London, England

When traveling in London, it's important to break up teatime, Scotch eggs, and bangers-and-mash dinners every once in a while with a pizza, and while not absolute top-shelf, our party was generally pleased with what has now become the Pizza100 debut of the artisan class. However, a minor controversy has simmered within my family regarding exactly which Pizza Express locale we actually visited, since there were three franchisees in the general neighborhood we were visiting that night, but I'm working on the presumption that the menu and quality are identical at each outlet. My main recollection was that to get to the dining room, we were led down a stairway into a darkened basement area reminiscent of the insane Parisian beatnik joint where Audrey Hepburn performed that bizarro dance scene with a legion of Marcel Marceau imitators.

The second photo (an artisan pepperoni coal-fired pizza) was nicely prepared and presented, although it took forever to arrive. My daughter, for reasons that still vex me greatly, declined pizza in favor of, I don't know...pasta or salad or something. She's globe-trotted far more than I have, and is quick to point out how she and her husband have tasted pizza in Italy, and I have not; the not-so-subtle implication being that her tastes are decidedly more refined than my own. But in my defense, she also sent me and my wife a recipe for buckwheat chocolate chip cookies the other day, so clearly, her food takes can be a bit peculiar.

Later that evening, we visited Snog, one of those germ incubating, do-it-yourself dollar-an-ounce yogurt shops where I normally enjoy an overflow cup. But on this night, they featured '90s grunge metal playing at about 140 decibels, and I fled outside for the relative quiet of the manic, bustling sidewalk, and like Doc Graham, crossed over the threshold into old-manhood forever. So technically speaking, this was my final pizza of middle-age—a pretty good way to go out. (6 of 10 stars)

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