Pizza Express, 37 North Bar Within, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8BD.
37 North Bar Within, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire HU17 8DB, UK
Pizza Express are a chain of Italian inspired pizza restaurants. This particular branch is located in Beverley town centre, within the main part of the town. There is a reasonable amount of on street pay and display parking nearby, including in front of the restaurant, which is free after 6PM, and some paid car parks slightly further afield.
The restaurant has a garden to the rear for eating outside and two floors inside, with the upper floor having more seating available than the ground floor. There is a bar area just inside the entrance where you are greeted, and the much of the kitchen is visible from the ground floor dining area and takes up some of the available floor space.
The Beverley branch was visited on a weekday evening and was very busy and noisy, both when entered and when left, being close to capacity. After entering, you are shown to a table and given a menu. All food and drink orders are placed from the table, as it has full table service. Due to the level of custom, there was only limited amount of dining time available before the table was needed for someone else.
The tables are pre-laid with paper napkins, cutlery, water and wine glasses and a pepper grinder. Parmesan cheese was also offered with the main course, and there are also a range of flavoured oils available.
The ordered drink was a 330ml bottle of Coke Zero which came served with a Coke-branded glass, ice and a slice of lemon. This was properly chilled when served.
The first course was not actually a starter, but was off the Intros section of the menu, which are a few small dishes, cheaper and smaller than the starters. The one ordered was Noci, which was a small plate containing a mix of almonds, peanuts and cashews, which had been toasted in harissa spices.
The nuts had a combination of sweet and spicy flavours; the sweetness was reminiscent of honey roast nuts, and the spiciness presumably came from the harissa spices. Although a small dish, there was still a reasonably decent amount of nuts on it.
The main course was a Four Seasons 11" Classic pizza. The Classic would appear to be the oldest type of pizza that Pizza Express make, dating back to the beginnings of the chain.
This pizza was divided into quarters, with each quarter having a different ingredient on it. The whole base was covered in pizza topping, with a quarter of mushrooms, one of pepperoni, one of anchovies and surfine capers and the final one of mozzarella. There were also a handful of pitted black olives on the pizza, and it looked like there was a light dusting of herbs.
The anchovies had a very strong taste, and having everything separated, including the mozzarella, was different. The pepperoni was a a fairly thin one that had been sliced, and was not that strong tasting. The base was slightly crispy, but still easy to cut through with the provided knife, which was not that sharp. This was an interesting pizza, although probably not to everyone's liking, partly because of the strong taste of the anchovies and partly because of the way the ingredients were separated out.
The dessert was the Leggera Chocolate Cheesecake, which is a chocolate and marscapone cheesecake on a chocolate sponge base. It was served with a sprig of mint, half a fresh strawberry and a dusting of what appeared to be cocoa powder. The cheesecake was in three layers; the chocolate sponge base, followed by what seemed to be chocolate and marscapone and topped with more chocolate.
Despite being called a cheesecake, it was substantially different from most normal types of cheesecake, as it resembled more a chocolate cake dessert of some type than a cheesecake. It certainly tasted of chocolate, and all of it was quite soft, probably because it had a sponge base rather than a biscuit one.
The cost of the meal including the drink came to £19.75. All the food was brought out quickly, and the service as a whole was fast, despite the level of custom and being served by four different people. Having to ensure that the meal was finished within an hour did detract a bit, but this was not the fault of the location. It would probably be a good idea to book a table at this restaurant if planning to dine there in the evening, rather than turning up without a booking, as this was not what would be considered a peak time.
The quality of the food is superior to other large pizza chains, and the overall standard of the restaurant itself is better, although it isn't as good as some of the independents can be. This was a nice meal in a nice location at a reasonable price.