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PizzaExpress Feedback Thread - See what MNers and their DCs think of the new summer Piccolo menu at PizzaExpress! NOW CLOSED

(63 Posts)
EmmaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 17-Aug-17 10:50:47

PizzaExpress asked us to find 50 Mumsnetters with a DC aged 5-12 to go to their local PizzaExpress to try the new additions to their summer Piccolo menu and experience the new activity pack. While in restaurant, they unleashed their creativity and entered the Dough Ball Adventure story writing competition. Read the comments below to find out what they thought!

Here’s what PizzaExpress has to say: “We know how much families love spending time together in our restaurants and this summer we have a lot to offer and more reasons to get excited about your next visit to PizzaExpress. As well as enjoying new additions to our Piccolo menu and new activity packs, we are encouraging kids to unleash their creativity and be as imaginative as possible in our Dough Ball Adventure writing competition. We’ll be asking kids between the ages of 6-12 to submit an exciting Dough Ball adventure story (up to 200 words) via our website for the chance to have their stories being made into animations, as well as win weekly adventure prize. Plus one lucky winner will win an adventure holiday.”

Testers - to be in with a chance of winning free pizza for a year (£300 PizzaExpress voucher)! please post your feedback on the thread below, including answers to these questions:

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?
2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?
3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?
4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?
5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?

Thanks and good luck,

MNHQ

Standard Insight T&Cs apply

mmmmmchocolate Thu 17-Aug-17 11:20:03

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?

Both DD's had garlic dough balls, pizza and a brownie for pudding. They both loved it, the salad with the starter was a good size but they both said that the butter with the garlic balls didn't have enough garlic flavour. They enjoyed the pizzas (pizza fiends anyway lol). The brownies were delicious but very indulgent, they could have done with a small amount of cream/ice cream to cut through the sweetness. They really liked the bambinocino too, that was a very exciting little touch!

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?

Yes, there was lots of choices and it was good value for money.

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?

They liked the stickers, did a bit of colouring and a word search for a while. Some of the pencils had no tips so they were limited on colours.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?

No, they had a sheet with puzzles and a pack of stickers, there was no info about a competition? Which is a shame as it would have kept them occupied for a while longer.

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?

It is, there is a good choice for children however on this occasion service was extremely slow. We were seated and then given time to choose, or waitress took the order and then went on her break. We were there over 2 hours with very long breaks between starter and main and main and desert. My children are 7 & 10 and started to get restless so younger children may have struggled. A baby at the next table was obviously very annoyed with the wait 😂 But quietened down once their food arrived lol. Their restaurant wasn't very busy but there was only one waitress and a (I assume) manager who wasn't doing a huge amount so the one waitress was serving about 8-10 tables. She also had to make the deserts which slowed down the service. In the rush to leave, (it was after 4pm on a Sunday by this point and I needed to pop to a few shops) the voucher that I used was only applied to one meal so I paid full price for one meal which was a bit annoying. So a few minor things really- speed up service, make sure you have the things you're supposed to have to keep the children occupied and don't be afraid of giving children bigger flavours!

Thank you for the meal anyway it was lovely to have some family time!

SillyMoomin Fri 18-Aug-17 09:52:12

Thank you Pizza Express and MNHQ for this, was lovely to have a family "date" night with DC and DH smile

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?
My DC had the baked dough balls and the La Reine pizza.
They loved the butter that came with the dough balls and felt as if they were having the same and myself and DH as we had the grown up dough balls with the chilli oils and pesto.
I liked the fact it came with a little portion of salad for them too

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?
I would, I think it had a good range and wasn't "simplified" for children too much- it seemed to be mini versions of the adult menu which is nice

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?
Good, but the colouring only occupied them for a few minutes and I prefer to talk to my children in restaurants- I'm not a fan of DC scribbling away when we're all having a conversation. Sorry, I know that's not what most people prefer.
It had a Good few activities in it though which they enjoyed once we got home

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?
It wasn't mentioned at my store? They like writing though, and we will be returning in the holidays still so I will ask about it

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?
Yes, the staff always try and accommodate and are friendly and know the menu well

girlsyearapart Fri 18-Aug-17 09:57:39

We went to pizza express Dean Street central London before going to a show .

4 dc (9,8,7,5) and 4 adults

1) the kids all had dough balls to start. 3 had pizza and one had pasta bolognese.
For pudding 3 had brownies and one had ice cream sundae ( can't remember the menu name for it)
They all enjoyed it. The pizza is getting a bit small for dd1 who is almost 10.
Dd1 seemed to be expecting strawberries with her brownie which she didn't get. I don't know if that was the case though.

The pasta seemed like a large portion to me but ds aged 5 still polished it off!
They didn't get babycinos and were not offered them.

2) yes would recommend it there was plenty of choice and they like getting 3 courses!

3) they liked the packs and spent so long doing the word search and other puzzles that they didn't even touch the stickers and we took them home with us.

4) I didn't see the story writing competition. The kids didn't do it though one claims she remembers seeing it.
They were definitely more interested in the word search.

5) yes definitely a family restaurant. The waiter we had was very good with the kids. The food came quickly although the pudding did take a while and we were clock watching a bit to get to the theatre on time.

We enjoyed hearing the jazz music from downstairs.
Thanks for choosing us - we love pizza express !

ProseccoandPizza Fri 18-Aug-17 10:03:15

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?

DC both had the dough balls with veg. One had magrehita pizza and the other American. Then brownie and ice cream sundae.

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?

Definitely! The DC both loved everything they had as well as tasters of DP and I's food.

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?

DS6 straight away noticed the difference in the new pack. He loved the stickers as always and both boys enjoyed doing the word search.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?

No they didn't.

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?

Definitely. Lots of family's were eating when we went. It's also DS6's absolute favourite restaurant.

NaiceToMeetYou Fri 18-Aug-17 10:09:07

*1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?*
Dc both had the same, dough balls followed by American pizza and a sundae. They loved it and finished it all, not a regular occurrence with them!

*2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?*
Yes, definitely. It was tasty, child friendly portions and great value for money.

*3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?*
They loved it, it kept them entertained throughout the whole meal.

*4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?*
No, they're a bit too young.

*5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?*
Yes I would, there were lots of families there and the staff were very patient with the dc.

Our pizzas were enjoyable and reasonably priced but I did find the drinks expensive. Overall it was a pleasant evening.

Proudmummytodc2 Fri 18-Aug-17 10:20:09

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?

My DC had the doughballs to start followed by the pasta bolognese and for dessert they have the the chocolate brownie. My DS enjoyed everything he scoffed the lot my DD liked everything but the pasta bolognese she said the sauce tasted a bit funny to her but everything else she enjoyed.

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?

Yes I would recommend this as it's very good for the money.

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?

It was ok. It amazing but kept the kids occupied for 10 mins.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?

I didn't know there was a competition they drew their doughballs but I didn't realise it could be entered in to a competition i should pay attention more.

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?

Yes it is a family restaurant because everyone who is there usually has kids and so if your kids get a bit loud and you have to settle them down again no-one is judging you because they are all in the same situation so it's very family friendly and it has a good kids menu too.

mermaidsandunicorns Fri 18-Aug-17 10:33:39

Hi! Thanks for choosing us we had a great time and loved the menu. I have 2 dc's who are 7 and 10

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?
Starters - dough balls
Mains - pollo pizza/ bolognese
Dessert chocolate brownie/piccolo sundae

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?
Definitely! It was easy to read so my dc's could easily choose what they would like. The portion sizes were good and the food was great. Empty plates all round!

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?
They loved the pack, we were a bit limited on colouring materials as some were quite blunt but they loved the masks and the puzzles.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?
Ds1 entered I think he wrote about doughballs that went on a trip (I was in the kitchen at the time so wasn't fully supervising)

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?
We found it to be very family friendly. It was quiet when we went but all the other people dining were families. The staff were really friendly and interacted brilliantly with my boys who wanted to ask lots of questions. Family friendly places are a key issue when we choose somewhere to go out so we will definitely be back

GetOrfMyBin Fri 18-Aug-17 11:14:41

We went to the Leeds Birstall store with our DC (9, 6 and 4).

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?

All DC had the doughballs to start. We liked that it came with cucumber and tomatoes. DC3 (4) wasn't too keen on the doughballs so just ate the cucumber and tomatoes. It may be an idea to have an alternative which is just veggie sticks. Other two DC enjoyed the doughballs.

For mains DC1 and DC3 had pizza and DC2 had pasta. DC2 wasn't keen on the Bolognese sauce, which she found a bit oily. She ate half of it then swapped with DC1. DC1 also said it tasted a bit oily/weird but ate it. They enjoyed the pizza.

For dessert DC1 and 2 had brownie, DC3 had icecream sundae. They all came with babychinos without us asking for them. The DC thought they were 'cool' when they saw them, but they weren't very keen on them. DC1 said it didn't taste of anything really. They'd all mentioned that they would have liked it to be a mini hot chocolate.

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?

Yes I think I would. I think it's quite good value for money and a lot of kids tend to like Pizza or Pasta. The only thing I was a bit miffed about was that a 'proper' drink wasn't included. The cartons were £1.50 each so we ended up spending £9 on two drinks each for the DC, which isn't really acceptable.

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?

They really enjoyed it. DC1 loved the little story booklet and she got straight to thinking about the story she could write. DC2 enjoyed the word search and DC3 enjoyed drawing the doughball with me helping. It kept them occupied at least. They really liked that the crayons they got to use were crayola twistables, as the crayons from little crayon packs they get elsewhere can snap. We thought it was a nice touch too.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?

DC2 and DC3 weren't really fussed about the writing competition (I think that they're a bit young for it anyway) but DC1 was very keen. She's pretty much written her story, we just need to upload it now. It's about a doughball adventure in space.

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?

This was our very first visit to Pizza Express. Before we went I viewed Pizza Express as more of an adult type restaurant and would take the kids to Pizza Hut if we were going out for pizza.

At the branch we went to it was very busy and there were lots of families there, with DC of varying ages. The visit did change our view point of it being a family friendly restaurant, but to be honest it isn't a place we'd visit often as it would be out of our price range. We hadn't had a chance to look for any deals before our visit but if we were out and decided to go for an off the cuff visit it would have been expensive anyway.

For example - DH wanted to get a Kopparberg but it was £6.40, so decided against it. As a quick comparison Pizza Hut is only £4.15 for the exact same product. We both ended up with a Sprite each which was still expensive (£2.70? For 330ml). We had two of these each, so again a lot on drinks. Compared again to Pizza Hut which offers unlimited fizzy drinks for £2.75.

DH and I shared a cheesy garlic bread for starters and had a pizza each for main. We both had dessert.

It was nice but I think we'd only go to Pizza Express very sporadically just due to the price, as it's not something we can afford to do really.

The kids did enjoy it though and we'd like to thank MN and Pizza Express for the voucher.

Raahh Fri 18-Aug-17 12:19:39

Left some unofficial feedback on original thread, but here's some more...
We went last Friday evening, to the Cheadle High street branch, myself, dh, dd1 (then 10, 11 this weekgrin) dd2(6), and ds(14). We booked a table, as , although we haven't been for years, I know it's a busy branch.
1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?
DD2 was the only on to have the Piccolo menu- the pizzas are a bit small now for the older two, although I think it's good value for dd2's age. She had pepperoni pizza with dough balls and liked the little salad that came with it too. She had brownies for dessert. She thought they came with strawberries (it did say fresh ones on the menu) but it came with a syrup, but she wasn't too bothered. She had a coke with her meal.
She enjoyed the pizza, she likes thinner crust ones , and liked getting her 'personal' dish of garlic dough balls for herself. grin.
2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?

I would, for younger kids (under 10), older than that, I think the pizzas are bit small. We've never had the other menu options to compare portion sizes though.

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?
The staff were great, and very apologetic about our wait ,as it was really busy (but we expected it, as it was Friday), so gave all activity packs, even though only dd2 had the menu. DD2 liked doing the colouring in, loved the glasses and the hat. She did the dough ball pictures with the stickers,dd1 and ds did some of the puzzles. We didn't really notice the time, to be fair, we were not in any hurry.
4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about? DD2 drew her dough ball pictures, and loved that, but we didn't see the story bit until later. DD1 has been writing a story- based on a dough ball who is also a unicorn, but is yet to finishgrin. Ds was far too old for such things... We brought some of the stickers home.
5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?
As well as us, there were about 3 other groups with children there when we were there, so it's definitely what I would consider a family restaurant, but one we (personally) would go to for special occasions, rather than just go into for lunch if we were out shopping, if that makes sense? Children were definitely made to feel welcome at the one we went to.

We don't go to PE very often, as it is really a bit on the pricey side for the 5 of us. We made use of the 2 mains for £10.95 deal that we found, for the older children and dh and I. We all had pizza- dh and the older dc, pepperoni, I had a margarita pizza with jalapeno peppers. This particular branch, as well as the Trafford centre (which is probably the last one I went to, a while back) are very family friendly.
One branch , when I used to go a lot pre-dc, did have have more of an 'adult' feel, I never remember many families there, so we deliberately avoided that one(although it's years since I've been a regular PE visitor, so it may have changed).

My dc really enjoyed it, and it was a lovely pre-birthday treat for dd1- so thank you very much to Pizza Express and MN for choosing us.

Raahh Fri 18-Aug-17 12:20:37

Forgot to mention DD2 loved her bambinocinogrin

Aspergallus Fri 18-Aug-17 13:37:19

We went to Pizza Express Inverness. Two 40-something adults and two boys aged 6 and 3. Our bill came to £75 with the boys having three courses from the piccolo menu, adults having a shared starter, mains and drinks. It was an end of holiday treat so knowing we had the voucher, we ordered with abandon. We could have been more frugal! Overall we had a great time and it felt much more special than a standard outing for pizza. We often go to Pizza Hut but getting up and down for the salad bar/ice cream factory is a bit annoying with young ones. This was an unusual combination of being child/family orientated, while being full table service which we much prefer.

1. What did your DC have off the summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?

Both (paged 3 and 6) had dough balls with garlic butter, followed by margeurita pizza. 6 year old DS then had chocolate brownie and 3 year old DS had a sundae. Both had babycinos. They really enjoyed their food. The dough balls were quite a large portion and fairly filling. I would usually choose something less carb heavy for a starter. My husband and I had an antipasto platter to share for starters and our boys ate a lot of food from our plate -they love things like sun dried tomatoes, salad veg, cold meats, cheese, olives etc. So while they really enjoyed the dough balls and would have no complaints, being used to more variety meant they added to their starter from our plate to effectively make their own "picky" plate of food. I tasted their dough balls and garlic butter and thought they were delicious.

Pizzas went down well and I was amazed they could finish them after everything they ate with their starters. Really appreciate children getting a decent, thin authentic pizza rather than some of the typical child's menu offerings.

The deserts were amazing. Delicious looking and tasting. My 6 year old really appreciated with presentation. With the little babycino alongside in a tiny espresso cup and saucer, it really felt like something special and grown up.

Drinks not being included inflated the cost of the children's meals -both boys had two cartons each.

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?

Yes, absolutely. Great food, absolutely child orientated and well presented.

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?

The activity pack contains a range of material to suit varying ages, there's a lot of it. My boys wore their hats and sunglasses, using the stickers to decorate them and did some colouring. Was great to have decent crayola twistables, meant they were actually interested in colouring compared to rapidly getting annoyed with the tiny bits of broken crayon which are usually offered. They were still working through the various materials by the end of the meal, so ideal.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?

This was a bit sophisticated/involved for my boys -they enjoy eating out with us and don't need this level of distraction/entertainment. Maybe in a couple of years?

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?

Absolutely. We were seated in the centre and our waitress was lively and chatty, interacting with the boys. Her attitude and the extent of the activity pack sends a clear message that this is a child friendly restaurant and we had a great time and didn't feel we had to hush the children or sit quietly and apologetically in a corner.

The babycinos were a really special touch, making the children feel like a real focus of the whole eating out experience.

Thanks so much mumsnet and pizza express for the voucher. We had a lovely meal out. Our local Pizza Express will be our new go to place for special events, Mothers Day, Fathers Day etc.

Clafoutis Fri 18-Aug-17 14:11:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Clafoutis Fri 18-Aug-17 14:42:09

Firstly, thanks to Mumsnet and Pizza Express for the vouchers, it was a really nice surprise as I had missed my email notifying me I had been picked! We had a really nice time and a lovely meal.
What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?
My children (4yrs and 7yrs) chose the doughballs, pepperoni pizza and the sundae for pudding. The dough balls were a hit with both girls who devoured them, along with their side salads. Finger food goes down well with them as they don't have to fuss with cutlery when they're hungry. I also find that they prefer to try new food if they can get their hands in a bit! The pizza also went down well, I can't really give any tips to improve! The sundaes were also scoffed although it was a bit of a shame as the ice cream was fully melted by the time it arrived- not that it bothered them! Both the restaurant staff and ourselves forgot the bambinochinos at the end but as portions are generous, they probably wouldn't have had room for a milky drink anyway!

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?
Yes, we would, and have done. It has a range of options, but not so much as to overwhelm the children. The menu was also set out really well, allowing the children to peruse their own copy and pick each course themselves with little input or interference from us. My children enjoyed feeling grown up! Portions are also generous and my daughter who likes her food and is having a bit of a growth spurt was stuffed!

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?
We were really impressed with the activity pack and it really kept the children occupied between courses. It also came tucked up inside the chef hat which meant I could re pack it when we left to keep it all together and not muddlled. The range of activities was good and suited a variety of ages. When asked, my 7yr old says the chef hat was her favourite bit, whilst using the stickers to customise the doughball was my 5yr olds favourite.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?
There was no information in the activity pack and so we didn't enter the competition. I asked staff about it, who looked a bit bewildered. To their credit, they went online and found an internal email but it was directed at staff from head office, encouraging them to enter their stories!

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?
Most definitely! The atmosphere is relaxed, the Piccolo menu is well thought out and the activity packs kept the children happy.

eastmidswarwicknightnanny Fri 18-Aug-17 16:22:19

Hi we visited on Sunday my birthday. We went to Leicester High cross

We had booked for midday and arrived at 11.50 am first diners there and ignored for a good 5mins then told sit where you like.

They had a billboard outside 2 courses for 10.95 or 3 for 13.95 when we asked for that menu we were told you need a code so DH then downloaded said code, why have a billboard outside offering it.

Ds1 (almost 7yrs) had piccolo menu, ds2 (2yrs shared everyone else's!).

So for starters ds1 had dough balls with veg came with oil or butter but wasn't given a choice just got butter. I had garlice bread with melted mozzarella which was a roll with cheese melted on no hint garlic in fact I used ds butter. DH had a tomato salad with mozzarella he was expecting a Italian number instead he got a bowl with 20 chopped baby plum tomatoes and a hunk mozzarella lobbed in.

Starters were not great edible but not as per menu but came quickly and cleated quickly.

DH asked for seafood rigatoni for main they didn't have it available so went for a meaty pizza which he said was v dry. I had the pesto pasta with chicken no where did it say it came with raw onion in inc the hunk of core and skin. Ds had margeritta pizza and the boys shared it.

We then sat and sat and sat (2 other tables of diners) one waiter doing lots of work, 2 waitresses and a manageress chatting they disappear and one waitress stays standing stating into space a few meters from us, ds2 is not the quietest he is 2, they make noise she could see we had finished I state led the plates loudly I loudly said you can have pudding in a minute, after 20mins I shouted for plates to be cleared and to order pudding.

I then had to shout again for pudding as she cleared the plates and went back to her daydreaming spot. Puddings ordered.

Pudding took 20mijns to come was best course I had vanilla cheesecake, DH fudge cake and D's choc Brownie with strawberries.

Again shouted for plates to be cleared and the bill, then had to call her back to pay.

The poor waiter was only one doing anything and there was 3other tables when we left more waiters/ess than tables.

Ds2 bumped his head very loudly and screamed no one asked us if he was OK, needed a cold pack or anything

Not once were we asked if our food was OK, did we enjoy our meal. I think NY end they could tell I was pissed off, no thank you or goodbye.

Activity packs are now v poor a mask/glasses youngest got given girls pack v obviously a boy both dressed in same top. The hats in past were much better. The writing a story did not interest ds1 he wanted puzzles, quizzes, games, colouring.

The piccolo menu at £6.45 is pretty typical of 3 courses however instead of babychinno it would be better to include a drink with the meal. Also the menu would benefit from one other starter.

Overall horrific service and mediocre food a virtually empty restaurant on a Sunday lunch in a busy town centre (with a big event on Sunday) is pretty telling of what people's think of the place.

We have visited other pizza express and had good experience but won't be back at this one in a hurry plenty more choice available.

MummyBtothree Fri 18-Aug-17 17:26:13

We went to Pizza Express, Iron gate, Derby.

Visiting was myself, my DH and two sons aged 5 & 12.

1) My son's had the dough balls, Bolognese, pepperoni pizza and both had the brownie for desert. They both enjoyed the food although the portion wasn't really big enough for older children in my opinion. It was a shame there wasn't an alternative starter on the piccolo menu to dough balls.

2) Yes I would recommend the new piccolo menumber.

3) The new in-restaurant activity pack was good although looking at some of the other testers photos I'm nor sure my children were given the same pack.

4) My children didn't want to take part in the dough ball adventure competition.

5). Yes I would consider Pizza Express to be a family friendly restaurant although we found it very expensive for the food that is available. Our bill came to £89 and I think that's alot for pizza and pasta. Although we enjoyed the experience we wouldn't have been happy if we had to pay full price as we didn't find the food to be anything outstanding or special and can find alot of places these days that serve excellent food at reasonable prices

dublinmary Fri 18-Aug-17 18:55:49

Thank you so much for choosing us for this deal. We were all thrilled to have a pre holiday treat. We went to a Pizza Express in North London, with myself, DH, DS (10) and DD (7).

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?

They both had dough balls, margarita pizza followed by Chocolate Brownie. They thought the food was tasty, but my son in particular thought his pizza was tiny. It is a couple of years since we have been to Pizza Express and I don't remember thinking the children's pizzas were small before, but these were definitely very small. DS had to be topped up with some of our pizza. I double checked the menu for age advice, and it didn't have any. I would say that size would do for up to 7 or 8 years old.

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?

To someone with younger children yes I would. The veg with the dough balls is a good touch, and having three courses means it keeps them busy for longer.

I agree with other posters who would rather have a drink than a babycino included, perhaps people could choose from squash or babycino? I imagine they would have similar costs.

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?

They both wore the hat and filled in the puzzles. They started with great enthusiasm, so it obviously looked appealing. It kept them busy for 10 minutes or so. Again might have lasted longer for smaller children.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?

No, we didn't notice it.

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?

They are always very accommodating and welcoming to children, which I have appreciated in the past when my two were younger. The food is reliable and you know what you will get. However it is quite expensive for what it is. DH had a beer, I had a small glass of wine, we shared a starter and had a pizza each. The children had one drink each as well as the menu. The total was close to £70 with a tip, which felt very dear for an evening in the suburbs. Especially when my son's main course was too small for him. An equivalent meal at our local independent pizzeria would be around £45, and their pizzas are tastier. I am sure we will go to Pizza Express again some time when we are in the city centre as it is reliable, but we wouldn't rush back to our local Pizza Express.

Nonetheless the staff were nice, the service was prompt and friendly and we did have a nice evening. So thank you very much!

dublinmary Fri 18-Aug-17 19:01:20

Me again! I've just seen another poster's photo of their child eating a pizza, and it looks bigger than the ones we had. Our kids' pizza was about the size of a small side plate. There may be some inconsistent sizing across different restaurants?

ThenBellaDidSomethingVeryKind Fri 18-Aug-17 22:04:45

Thank you for for choosing us!

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?

Both children (9&3) had dough balls, followed by margerita pizza for the eldest and penne bolognese for the youngest. My eldest tried out the new frozen yoghurt lolly for dessert, which she loved. Overall, both children enjoyed their meals, however ds struggled with the pasta as it was somewhat over reheated under the grill and lots of the pasta had become crispy / burnt at the edges.

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?

Yes, felt there were plenty of options and the portion sizes and price seem about right.

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?

They enjoyed the masks and stickers.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?

No, my eldest wasn't really interested and my youngest a bit too young - he enjoyed the stickers and mask much more.

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?

Yes I would. The menu for kids is well designed and there was plenty of high chairs and clean toilet facilities. Our waiter was great with the dc.

WhosTakingDeHorseToFrance Sat 19-Aug-17 00:31:36

Firstly thank you to Pizza Express and Mumsnet for including us in the trial. We had a really lovely experience, a real treat to have a meal out together!

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?
The children both had the doughballs and crudités as starter. The eldest had a chicken salad and my 5 year old fussy eater had the pasta bolognese. For pudding they both chose the icecream sundae. The fussy one finished every last piece of pasta, this is miraculous usually dinner is a drama!!

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?
Absolutely I was really impressed with the choices and the quality of the food the children had. It was all presented really well and the babycino was a big hit with them both. I thought it was very well priced in comparison to kids meal offers elsewhere.

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?
Kids loved it, lots to entertain both the 5 and 9 year old. 5 year old loved the stickers and colouring in and my 9 year old liked the puzzles. They were quiet and happily doodling for the duration.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?
He is currently writing it! In the pack we were given there wasn't anything specific about the competition. We saw it on the website.

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?
Yes, totally. The staff who served us were super pleasant. Food arrived quickly and the kids were served first. The pack is brilliantly designed to occupy both older and younger children. We were really impressed.
The staff were just lovely and impressively efficient.

Thanks again for giving us the opportunity.

PutOnAHappyFace Sat 19-Aug-17 09:33:28

This was first time we have ever been so thank you for the voucher.

1. What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?

All 3 of mine had dough balls, the pepperoni pizza then 2 sundaes and a brownie. They all ate it all and said it was OK but I think for my 9 and 10 year old the pizza was a little small. They weren't offered the babychino and because we thought they just came with the main we didn't ask and then didn't want to wait for them as the kids were getting restless.

2. Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?
I think I would recommend for younger children as I do think the menu is quite simple and small.

3. How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?
Eldest wasn't bothered about pack but the other 2 had a little look. I think it was a bit overwhelming and they just seemed to get handed a lot of bits of card and paper with not much space on the table.

4. Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?
No they didn't. I think they thought it was a bit boring.

5. Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?
I would say they try to make it family friendly but not much space for kids to draw etc. They did enjoy watching the chef make the pizza's.

Aspergallus Sat 19-Aug-17 12:24:19

Some pics of our trip to Pizza Express Inverness, where we had brilliant service.

Aspergallus Sat 19-Aug-17 12:26:14

A few more:

Mum2mischiefs Sat 19-Aug-17 13:33:41

We trotted along to our local PizzaExpress on King Street in Nottingham to use our voucher – thanks MN and PizzaExpress for treating us. My boys were very excited about providing a review as they like to think of themselves as mini-gourmets!

Despite it being Saturday lunchtime, the restaurant was reasonably empty and our waiter let us choose where we wanted to sit. My preference was for a people-watching position so we went for the banquette seating along the side of the restaurant. The kids were quickly given their activity packs and set about reading, writing and colouring in.

1.What did your DC have off the new summer Piccolo menu? Did they enjoy it?

Both had the Baked Dough Ball and salad starter with the garlic butter dip, which they demolished with no difficulty. DS2 (11) went for the La Reine pizza and DS3 (9) went for the ‘Make it your own’ option, adding tomatoes and black olives. It was only after he’d ordered that we realised that this option related to pizzas, and not the pasta, but he was happy to have the pizza anyway. For me, the size of the children’s pizzas was about right; they weren’t massive but there was enough for them to think that they had enough to eat (they were both cut up into eight pieces).

DS2 loved his pizza and is still talking about it now. DS3 was showing signs of defeat about half way through his but did manage to eat the WHOLE THING without any nagging/pleading/bribery from me. Suffice to say, there were clear plates all round. I joined them in pizza, enjoying a Soho 65, and it was lovely. The tomato sauce on PizzaExpress pizzas always tastes really fresh and of unadulterated tomato; it also wasn’t too salty, which I have noticed with some pizza sauces.

2.Would you recommend the new Piccolo menu to a friend or family member and why?

Yes – I thought the menu offered good value for money and the food was of a high standard with good, fresh ingredients. The boys received VIP treatment and the presentation of their desserts (a chocolate brownie and ice cream sundae respectively) and bambinoccino on a little platter at the end of the meal surprised and delighted them. If my boys are happy, I’m happy.

PizzaExpress always manage to strike the balance between providing a child-friendly environment and also offering a degree of sophistication, which is great and makes the adults feel like they have had a treat too.

3.How did you and your DC find the new in restaurant activity pack?

There were a lot of aspects of the activity pack that I really liked. It really encourages children’s imaginations and unleashes their creativity. I wonder how accessible it would be for some children in terms of it is quite heavily focused on writing a story (or certainly the little booklet seems to be). The ‘glasses’ and the stickers were fun but my two were both intent of creating the best Dough Ball Adventure possible so this was the focus of their activities. It definitely created a lot of discussion as we talked about their characters and what they might get up to on their adventures. Nobody had time to colour in the glasses on the day so we finished these at home!

They liked the stickers although I thought it might have been nice to have a little colour somewhere and I did miss some of the puzzles from previous activity packs, which we all enjoyed doing together. (Note that lots of the previous posters had puzzles in their backs but ours had definitely gone walkabout!) They both loved the hats and wore these for the duration of the meal! The crayons supplied were all of the twistable variety and there were plenty of colours there for everyone, preventing any pre-pizza arguments. It would have been good to have something to keep all the bits and pieces together as they both liked their goodies enough to want to take everything home.

4.Did your DC enter the Dough Ball adventure story writing competition? If so, how did you find it? What was your DC’s story about?

Both DSs entered the Dough Ball Adventure competition by filling in the booklets and we submitted these online when we got home. DS2 went for a rags to riches tale about a Dough Ball called Jeff, who wanted to become a chef, while DS3 wrote about four friends, Spag-Hetty, Mozzar-Ella, Dough-Bella and Pepper-oni, who started a band and went on the Eggs Factor!

5.Would you consider PizzaExpress to be a family friendly restaurant? If so why? If not, why not?

Yes – absolutely. We all enjoyed our food and the ambience of the restaurant. The service was friendly without being intrusive and importantly, swift. The kids were entertained by the activity pack before and between courses and were pleasantly surprised when their food came quickly. For me, the food was freshly prepared, delicious and of a high standard. I’ve been to several plastic pubs where the price was similar and food prepared through the pressing of a couple of buttons. We didn’t have any difficulties for the staff to negotiate on the day but our waiter was really polite and friendly throughout. I am certain we’ll be visiting again in the near future.

Thanks MN and Pizza Express, we had a great night!
1 - Ds had the dough balls which he absolutely loved, followed by American Pizza and an ice lolly. He enjoyed all of it and was impressed that it was just like the 'grown up food' that we were having. The dough balls especially were a hit, he loved the garlic butter. I would say it would be nice to have an alternative as dough balls followed by pizza is a little heavy. We also liked that there was a milk option on the drinks menu.
2 - Yes I would recommend to families. The menu has enough variety to suit most tastes and the portion sizes are good. Ds is only five so struggled to finish the Pizza but my neices and nephews of 8/9 would demolish it. The service st the restaurant we visited was outstanding and they really made us feel welcome.
3 - I'm not sure if we got the new pack as we got glasses rather than a hat? Either way, Ds was kept entertained throughout. Some bits were a bit old for him but there was enough that he liked. It was great to have more than one activity and something to bring home.
4 - he didn't enter the competition, he's perhaps a bit too young to get really engaged in it but I do think it's a great idea for slightly older kids. Maybe next year?!
5 - yes I would say PE is family friendly. We've already planned our next trip as we were happy with both the food and the welcome. Families seem to be genuinely welcomed and catered for, staff are happy to chat to kids and we didn't feel like the kids menu was an afterthought. We've often been to Bella as it's closer to us but we've decided that we'll be making the extra effort to go to PE as we were so impressed.

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