Thanks to the buy one get one free vouchers from the times, I took my brood to Pizza express for some nosh. Now it's been a little while since I went there but - jeez - the pizzas were rubbish. The kids had plane margheritas with added ham, I had a quatrro formaggi and my other half had a soho.
The pizzas were DREADFUL - there COULD have been four cheeses on mine, but I couldn't distinguish one bit of melted topping from the rest and it all tasted the same - a bit of dough with some melted mild cheddar mixed with tomato puree. The kids ones had barely any ham on and we actually played hunt the cheese. All the pizzas had a LOT of tomato puree.
When the bill came they had forgotten to take the vouchers off. Then they did but "forgot" that the "extra ham" (£3!!!!!) was a part of the pizza and not a side dish. Maybe they thought we would "forget" after the bottle of wine we had, which was warm (although they did bring a bucket with a few bits of ice).
Now call me paranoid, but is it remotely possibly that if you take in a voucher, they give you sub standard pizzas to make up for it - in that you may get one free but they share out the toppings between the both of them. Or are they just not very good any more??? The Pizza Express in upper ground is v near my work and I used to go there regularly but I don't recall it being this bad before. I don't think I'll be going back(even with the remaining voucher I have).
I don't think it's anything special about paying with vouchers. I got a takeaway from one about a month ago and it was the final straw. I should have looked at it at in the restaurant, but it wasn't till I got back to the office I realised there was pretty much nothing on it.
The pizzas (and plates!) get smaller every year, and the toppings shrink too. And then they "introduce" large (i.e. normal) pizzas for a £2 premium. And charge nearly £6 for a 250ml glass of house wine.
it has nothing to do with the offers. Quality has sufferred since they embarked on a massive expansion and now struggle to cope with managing standards. Smaller pizzas, less topping, it's sad as PE used to be such a quality brand. For my £ La Lanterna has the best pizzas in SE1 and top service too
It DOES seem odd you have to tell them BEFORE you are ordering...
Waitress: hello there what would you like to order?
Us: Hi we have these vouchers...
Waitress: one moment while I alert the kitchen to hide the ham and cheese...
I know there are much better places - I wouldn't have gone without the bleeding vouchers and it ended up costing more than if I'd just taken the kids to Tas next to the Globe (which they love cos they think it's really posh!!!).
I once ordered a sloppy Giuseppe pizza at Pizza Express next to the Globe and whilst eating it got a splinter in my tongue. My father was with me and between us we managed to explain to the waiter what had happened and asked to see the manager. We waited about 10 minutes. The manager, after being shown the wee wooden spike in my tongue, said it was impossible that it had come from one of their pizzas as the flour was meticulously sifted. I asked him if he thought it was likely that I would come to a pizza restaurant with a splinter already in my tongue and specifically order a spicy pizza. He grudgingly offerered to give me the pizza free. I explained that actually he was going to give my whole group our meals for free for the inconvenience and that we would leave at that moment to go home to get some tweezers. I was appalled not only by his terrible attitude but also his complacency. The place was full of children and had this spike lodged down one of their throats he'd have had a real problem. Dreadful place. Don't go.