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84 High Street, Wimbledon Village, SW19 5EG
0208 946 6027
We're in the heart of the village, close to both Wimbledon Common and the world famous Wimbledon lawn tennis courts. Set over 2 floors, we offer a warm and friendly atmosphere, and an outdoor terrace for the summer months.
Ice Age: Collision Course has landed in a Pizza Express near you, ahead of the fifth in this film franchise series release in UK cinemas on Friday, 29 July. Get your family (re)acquainted with Manny the Mammoth, Sid the Sloth, Scrat the squirrel (will he ever get to eat the nut?) and assorted pre-historic friends, with the fun film 'teaser' activity sheets provided with crayons to keep kids (and their grown-ups!) calm and collectively engaged in colouring. Combine Collision Course fever with culinary 'nous' to conjure up your favourite Ice-Age character(s) and a pizza in a competition to enter to win a family trip to Hollywood: www.pizzaexpress.com/iceage.
Pizza Express has been synonymous with relaxed, neighbourhood family-friendly dining for the past 40 years. This was our first visit to the Wimbledon Village one although we are habitués of other restaurants in the chain. Bright and light with a cool contemporary interior, the glass frontage, opening to the pavement, and the big windows to the back give an outdoors indoors 'al fresco' dining feel particularly suited to the summer months.
Staff were very welcoming and service was slick and smooth without being obtrusive. We were afforded the luxury of languishing over a lazy lunch (to do with us being in a leisurely frame of mind rather than slow service!) which is most welcome at weekends. Suspect that this was only possible though because the SW19 summer holiday exodus left the restaurant less busy than usual.
The Piccolo menu (@£6.95), aimed at ("even the fussiest of eaters") children provides appetising and healthy pasta and pizza small plates true to the restaurant chain's main menu, without compromising on taste, nutritional value or quality. Ideally suited for three to tweens (although we have heard tales of money and calorie counting teen girls, and indeed their mothers, opting for it too!), the menu seems to have been updated with more 'mains' and 'pudding' choices than previously. Dough balls and mini-salad starter always get the thumbs up (although the children were not offered a choice of garlic butter or the olive oil/balsamic syrup) and with a pizza and a pasta lover, the menu catered well for both. Only quibble was that Thoroughly Merton Milly loves loves Parmesan on pasta but was not asked if she'd like more (apparently there was some already sprinkled on her Bolognese) so we had to ask. Not including soft drinks (just milk or fruit juice options) on children's menu gets a big thumb's up. All too often meals out can descend into 'meltdown' with menus offering 'family-forbidden' fizzy drink choices! Puddings are limited but cover 'the culinary bases' loved by children - ice-cream and 'cake' in the form of a small but rich chocolate brownie topped by a seasonal strawberry. And great to see that the Bambinoccino is no longer the oft-forgotten after-thought but served with dessert.
The main new-for-summer menu caters well for those watching their waistlines (Leggera options), those following a gluten-free diet and/or with other allergies, vegetarians and even those of us (like me) who are not pizza-perfect! A Grand Chicken Caesar Salad was just the thing for me on a hot day contrasted with husband's American Hottest Pizza which more than cleared the cobwebs away! With a tempting Tiramisu (traded by Thoroughly Merton Milly for her brownie) and the Eton-Mess cheesecake for pudding we ate well but not greedily.
The restaurant is family-friendly although by no means exclusively pitched at this particular market (there were people of all ages there, some in groups, many in couples and some even dining alone). There were at least ten white high-chairs stacked up to accommodate the littlest ones, and space enough between tables to fit a baby asleep in a buggy if need-be. A spacious disabled loo downstairs afforded a baby-change facility, although I would have expected the two to be separate and for the latter to be in/next to the women's toilets (which were far less conveniently situated - for young children and indeed the elderly - upstairs).
Pizza Express offers in-house pizza-making parties (for both children and adults) and visits from schools.
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