Pizza Express opens in Singapore, and yes there are dough balls! Read the HoneyKids review

The wait is over, folks. Pizza Express has opened its doors for the first time in Singapore. We tested the menu and even joined in on some pizza-making to find out why it's such a hit around the world...

Dough balls. Those two words alone should be enough to make you grab the kids and head straight to Singapore’s first Pizza Express in Scotts Square. But let me elaborate…

Pizza fans, rejoice. Pizza Express is finally here, and it’s GOOD. The resident Brits and long-time Pizza Express fans at HoneyKids HQ have even declared that it’s better than in the UK. Yes, we’ve gone and said it.

As your trusted guinea pigs, we road-tested the menu, quaffed the wine (reasonably priced and very drinkable, FYI) and even got a lesson in pizza-making to ensure this joint was worthy of a top spot in our famous guide to family friendly restaurants in Singapore. Here’s why we’re still going through pizza cravings (despite eating the stuff for two days straight now…)

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THE MUST-EATS
Pizza Express nailed its dough recipe back in the 60s: if you aren’t already well acquainted with those famous dough balls, it’s time to get on board! This bite-size treat is as popular with the toddlers as the grown-ups, and they’re even better dipped in garlic butter or pesto. No fighting over these at the table, please.

We were particularly impressed by the Calabrese pizza, which was the star of the night thanks to its combo of nduja (a Southern-Italian spicy, spreadable sausage, made right here in Singapore by Hubers), pesto-dressed rocket, and finished with dollops of fresh buffalo mozzarella. If you like your food with a little bit of kick, this pizza is on point.

And, wait for it, there’s a chilli crab pizza on the menu! Lower your raised eyebrow, pizza purists, this local twist, specially created for the Singapore branch, really does capture the spirit of chilli crab in a pizza – you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as we were…

THE FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTOR
Kids are more than welcome here – and we’re yet to meet a child who doesn’t looooove pizza. Coloured pencils and an activity sheet are whisked out to keep kids entertained until the feast arrives – although the pizzas are cooked to perfection in four minutes, which reduces the risk of ending up with hangry little people. Yes you can book ahead to avoid meltdowns while waiting or a table. And high chairs? Check.

What about the kids’ menu? The Piccolo menu is a tidy $12 for three courses, with a starter, choice of pizza or pasta (there’s a so-simple garlic butter pasta for the fussies), a drink of juice or milk and dessert. Bambinoccino, anyone?

We had a go at making our own pizzas, and they got the serious seal of approval from the husbands and the kiddos. (Now imagine how good the pizzas are when they’re made by the pros in the kitchen.)

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS (that make it so good)
You might notice that the passata and toppings are spread all the way to the edge. Technically, this is to stop the dough from burning in the mega-hot ovens; we say it encourages crust-eating. The passata, which is made from sweet Italian tomatoes, has been used in Pizza Express restos since 1965. Here’s a bit of folklore for you: each batch of passata has a single basil leaf in the tin. If you find it in your pizza, it’s good luck!

Flipping good pizzas at Pizza Express!

Flipping good pizzas at Pizza Express.

THE SUPER SERVICE
We love the warm, attentive service here. Good service with a smile all round, so bravo to the SG team – keep the good vibes coming.

WHAT’S THE DAMAGE?
Let’s be honest: dining out in Singapore can easily turn into a bit of a splurge, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised here (and if you’ve eaten at the UK branches, prices are on par!). Pizzas start at $18!

AND THE GOOD NEWS?
Pizza Express will be introducing a delivery menu. Now we just need to convince them to roll out the gluten-free pizzas here in SG (and the frozen range for at-home pizza emergencies).

The verdict:
You shouldn’t have to overthink a pizza. Simple is beautiful, and these guys have nailed it. Welcome to Singapore, Pizza Express – we’ve been waiting for you.