1.Open House 2.Antipasti platter 3.Restaurant seating 4.Pizzas being prepared 5.PizzaExpress Morningside restaurant 6.Organ 7.Bianca Formaggi and Fiorentina pizzas with Pinot Grigio and Cortese wine 8.Wine expert Adrian with the lovely PizzaExpress waitresses
It’s no secret that I love eating and drinking, so when I was invited along to a pizza and wine tasting evening at PizzaExpress in Morningside I jumped at the chance. PizzaExpress are introducing a new concept, ‘Open House’, to their Edinburgh branches this summer so I headed along to hear what it was all about – and sample lots of pizza, of course!
I met up with Laura and her friend on Sunday evening and we headed in to the restaurant. The Morningside PizzaExpress has only been open for a couple of months so this was the first time I had visited. The building itself is gorgeous; it’s located in an old church so has lovely high ceilings, big windows and even an old organ above the pizza ovens! The decor was clean and modern, but with a bit of a retro feel, and I loved the little “Edinburghy” touches like the quotes from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie on the walls. The three of us took a seat and enjoyed some antipasti and a glass of Prosecco before being introduced to the concept of Open House by Emma, the Marketing Director at PizzaExpress. On Sunday evenings, PizzaExpress are encouraging us to make the most of our weekends and head down to our local restaurant with our favourite bottle of wine, which they’ll help match to the perfect pizza partner. BYOW (or, Bring Your Own Wine) is a concept that’s starting to make its way into a lot of top restaurants across the world, and PizzaExpress have chosen Edinburgh as the first place to take advantage of Open House Sundays, which is lucky for me! The promotion is exclusive to Edinburgh and runs until the end of July – but who knows, if it’s successful it might make its way to more destinations across the UK!
After that, PizzaExpress’s resident “Master of Wine”, Adrian, gave us an introduction to our first wine and pizza combination of the night (there were eight in total, oh the things I do in the name of blogging!). We started off with one of my favourite wines (although I must admit I’m not terribly picky, as long as it’s drinkable I’ll drink it!), a Pinot Grigio, which matched perfectly with the creamy, salty cheese flavour of the Bianca Formaggi pizza. At the same time we also tasted a Cortese – which was quite similar to the Pinot Grigio but with subtle differences due to the type of grape and the region it’s grown in – which Adrian suggested would work well with the Fiorentina pizza, which had spinach, egg, garlic and olives. Many, many glasses of wine later we were finally getting the hang of this tasting business (the warmer the climate, the sweeter the wine!) and we reached the final wine-pizza-combo. I’m not usually a huge fan of red wine, but I must admit when it was paired with spicy pizza it worked really well. We had a Chianti along with a slice of Sloppy Guiseppe and it finished off our tasting session perfectly.
I think the idea of Open House is great, especially as it’ll help to keep the cost of a meal nice and cheap but you’ll still get to enjoy dining out on a Sunday instead of vegetating on the sofa watching endless episodes of Come Dine With Me. The Open House BYOW (with no corkage, yay!) is currently available at all eight of the Edinburgh PizzaExpress restaurants from 6pm on Sundays, and will run until the 30th July. I had a great time at the preview event and now have lots of wines to look out for in the supermarket, ready to stock up for the next time I visit!
Will you be trying out the Open House Sundays deal?