31 January 2010

La Dolcetta Vita

The Taste London card is an interesting idea: you pay £70 for a one year membership, which entitles you to either 50% off food or two-for-one main courses at a range of restaurants across London (and beyond). I wouldn't actually pay that much for a one year's membership because the only restaurants on their listings that I frequent are the standard, middle-of-the-road chains like Pizza Express, Prezzo and so on and a) there is usually some two-for-one voucher available to download online for at least one of them each week and b) I wouldn't want to feel pressured into going to one of the listed restaurants rather than a favourite restaurant where I don't get the discount.

Anyway, the upshot is that I won a free year's membership in November and have so far saved about £100 across various dinners. Tonight, the Bro and I went to Pizza Express in Baker Street pre-cinema and of course I whipped out my Taste London card and saved us £15 or so on food. Of course, you could argue that if I didn't have the 50%-off-all-food discount, I probably would have just had a pizza and tap water--no starter, no coffee, no pudding--but the Bro and I ended up sharing some garlic bread, he had a couple of Peronis, I had a Sicilian lemonade and a mini pudding (dolcetto) and espresso. As Papa was paying, this was a moot point.

I am really pleased with Pizza Express's new dolcetti. I am a big pudding fan. Puddings are often the first thing I look at on a menu and while there is rarely more than one main course that tickles my fancy, I am often tempted by several puddings. However, I am often too full to eat a pudding and have to pass. The dolcetto is thus a clever idea because for £1 less than a standard pudding, you get a smaller pudding with a coffee of your choice. So, tonight I had a mini lemon meringue pie with an espresso--just the right amount of sweetness without making me feel like I've eaten too much. Now Pizza Express just needs to start including more puddings I like in the dolcetti menu: something with chocolate but without fruit and alcohol would be a good start.

Congratulations, Pizza Express: not only do your Romana pizza bases finally compete with the other Italian chains in the thin and crispiness stakes but you are now providing me with another reason to pick you instead of the others thanks to a tempting pudding for which I actually have room!

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