pizza express review corn exchange


When deciding on where to go out and eat there are two dishes which are firm favourites in our household. Pizza. And pasta. Let’s start with the former…


Todays post is about an evening well spent at the Pizza Express restaurant in the Corn Exchange. I’ve never been a massive fan of Pizza Express, I‘m not averse to chain restaurants but I always expected much of the same from a Pizza Express branch. However, this branch bashes that stereotype and its interiors are an homage to the Corn Exchange, inspired by the industrial history of the building. This is the third Pizza Express in Manchester and it’s slap bang in the middle of all the action.



The new menu went live that day, focusing on simple authentic Italian food. Their bases are freshly made in store, with their ‘secret’ dough recipe and fresh ingredients. whilst Holly, the head of food and drink talked us through their new menu the sounds and smells of the kitchen ticked on in the background, it was so hard to focus knowing our food was being prepared! The ovens at Pizza Express are kept at 371 degrees – nothing more, nothing less. Ready for whatever the chefs throw into it.

And one by one out they came… pizza and pastas. The pasta was fab actually. The broad bean rigatoni was lovely. Gran Milano cheese and pesto. Went down a treat.



The pizzas were coming, but as this was the launch night for the new menu, they were bringing out pizzas as and when they were ready. My only point to note about the evening (this is aimed at the Pizza Express crew) was maybe have a separate table for the vege and non vege pizzas. There were far too many instances when we would get up to excitedly pick up a slice only to find it was the meat one.

That said, the staff were great that night and as we sat pining for a vegetarian pizza to come out the oven, they noticed we had waited and brought us over a whole fresh ‘un to enjoy all to ourselves.

The pizza of the night was definitely the Caponata – it was the first time I’d ever had an aubergine on a pizza! worked well.  AND it had buffalo mozzarella and gran milano cheese.

After the pizzas, came the desserts. What fine desserts they were… Lotus Bischoff cheesecake and sticky toffee bundt cake pudding. Sticky toffee is one of my favourite desserts and this one was cooked just right – warm sweet and comforting with salted caramel gelato. Basically you need to make sure you visit with a friend and order both so you can share because I genuinely could not tell you which one is better.



We had a great time that night. The Corn Exchange is a fantastic foodie destination, but it’s sometime hard to decide what to eat. Luckily, there’s so much variety it’s pretty much prepared for any situation. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to visit Pizza Express, as I mentioned normally it would probably not have been top of my list. But I’m happy to say I’ve since returned and enjoyed the meal just as much the second time round, testament to the quality and consistency Holly preached about at the start of the event.

Why should you go? Well it’s good food, reasonably priced, usually some great deals available and of course, there’s never a good reason not to have pizza, right?



Have you been to Pizza Express? What’s your favourite find in the Corn Exchange? 


**Thank you to the Pizza Express team for inviting us to sample the new menu. Of course all opinions and pics are my own, very little editing on the photos – slight brightness increase but thats all 🙂 ***



I’ve only ever walked through the Corn Exchange once. Many many years ago. It completely bored me. I remember it being sparse, unimaginative with not much in there apart from the occasional art exhibition (the exhibits were always pretty good though).

From the moment we heard Pho Manchester was opening, this restaurant sparked controversy in our house. Mo and I battled it out on how to pronounce this restaurant’s name, our Fantastic Four whatsapp group even changed to ‘Foh’ or ‘Fuh’ whilst we both constantly pleaded cases to prove each other wrong. A quick tweet led to Pho showing this:



Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a complete sucker for innovative promo material and I loved what Pho had come up with. Simple and effective, creating a good buzz around a restaurant that was out to impress. If that wasn’t enough, Pho is a family run business opened by two travellers, Stephen and Juliette Wall – what a great way to embody travel memories.


Lucky enough to bag a table at the soft launch, we marched swiftly round to the entrance and were surprised at how big the restaurant was. I imagined a café-style single floor occupant, but instead, it was a bare-brick, double-storied, high-ceiling area, with varied seating arrangements to suit all sorts of occasions. Very cool, very on-point, and after falling in love with their advertising, very Pho. Loved it.



This new addition was already coming up trumps and we hadn’t even got to the meal yet. I really had to slow down and pace myself.

We ordered a starter and a main each: Much Chien Gion (squid), Canh Ga (chicken wings), Goi Cuon (rice paper rolls), Cha Gio (vege spring rolls), Pho Ga (vietnamese noodle soup) and Com Tam (Broken rice served with a Vietnamese curry).

Sauces are already on the table, but some of the dishes came with their own special accompaniments. One of which was a peanut sauce – something I have always stayed well away from – but this one was fit!



Let’s just say, it wasn’t long after the starter plates were squashed onto the table that they had to be removed. We had devoured it all at some insane speed. Stand out dish – possibly of the whole night – was the Cha Gio. This dish will definitely be a staple order for when we visit.

My only comment on the main is, I did see a few people with some very fetching plastic bibs. Maybe this should be an option with any of the Pho dishes, as I did have a number of close calls with my pristine white jumper (what was I thinking wearing bright white to a restaurant!?!?)



Do I recommend it? Would I go back? Pho sure!!! (Like what I did there?)

I would go just to experience the different seating areas (I’m a bit strange like that).

I can imagine how nice it will be next summer, to sit outside and enjoy a mixture of starters for a light lunch with that amazing Gold Madonna (discovered this on my MCR tour) right opposite. Or taking a comfy seat in the inside terrace, looking out into the Corn Exchange atrium in the winter with a warm bowl of noodle soup.



This is definitely one of those places that deserves more than one visit. Oh, and all the cynical thoughts I had about opening so many restaurants in one building have been completely banished. If all other ventures are going to put in as much pazazz as Pho has done, it’s going to be epic.


Pho Restaurant
Unit 15, The Corn Exchange, 37 Hanging Ditch,Manchester, M4 3TR

Pho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Any other must try Pho dishes for our next visit over?  What does everyone else think of the Corn Exchange revamp?