Getting your hands stuck in sticky pizza dough and making a mess that I don’t have to clear up is my idea of fun. On the night in question, Chef John and his able helper Maria let a group of us loose with pizza dough, mounds of flour and lots of different toppings to play with.
At the Pizza Making parties at Pizza Express, they walk you through the process of shaping the pizza dough, tell you why you should toss the dough and show you how to toss it, why they don’t use a ladle to spread the tomato sauce and their own secret method and more.
It’s great fun to get stuck in and get your hands dirty. It gets messy but you have an apron to keep most of the flour off your clothes. You don’t pull the dough to shape it, you have to press down with your fingertips to spread the dough.
Then when it is the right shape, you slap it around from palm to palm and give it a toss. This is to remove the excess flour and to give it a bit more of a stretch.
We then put it in a pan and shape it to fit the edges of the pan.
A ladle of tomato sauce is added and the pan is then rotated vertically to spread the sauce. They say this is faster than using a ladle.
It was time to add our toppings. You can choose from an array of vegetables and meats and you add a handful of cubed mozzarella to finish.
This is my finished creation.
As part of the adult Pizza making package (£21.95), you get a glass of Prosecco, starters of dough balls, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and the pizza you made. You must, of course, end your meal with one of their puddings. If you can’t handle a full one, opt for the coffee/tea and bite-sized pudding option. It’s enough to satiate without overwhelming.
The Pizza Express Fulham has just had a facelift and it is looking fresh and new. The design is inspired by two significant figures in Fulham’s history – designer and potter, William De Morgan, and explorer and naturalist, William John Burchell.
The open plan kitchen area now has shiny new black tiles framing their massive pizza ovens. The room is airy and has comfortable banquette seats along one wall. The new tartan covered seats are not just decorative but comfortable.