Sunday 13 April 2008

Pizza Express, Heath Street, Hampstead, north London

Housed in an attractive period building just north of the tube station, this is one of the more pleasant branches of the child-friendly Pizza Express chain. The black granite-style tables are spread out across two floors decorated in maroon and cream and well lit by large windows and skylights. The food on the standard kids menu (£5.65) is served in generous portions and with some nice touches not found in every Pizza Express, such as real strawberries or crumbly chocolate cake on top of the ice cream. To start, the dough balls are accompanied by plenty of garlic butter and a decent serving of cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices and red peppers. You can request a large jug of tap water (free), which is served with some slices of lemon. But the toppings on the standard pizzas on the adult menu can be a little threadbare. There really isn't enough spinach or mozzarella on the fiorentina (about £7.25), for example. Even so, this branch can get packed with young families putting the patient waiting staff under a bit of pressure and you may find the service a tad sluggish. 6/10