Pizza Express is hardly London’s best-kept secret. In fact, with 400 restaurants in the UK, many in the capital area, chances are you’re sitting around the corner from one. The pizza chain, founded in London’s Soho in 1965 by a man with an Italian pizza oven, is now renowned for bringing authentic Italian pizza and beer to the British high street, and has become a much-loved British staple. Which is exactly why we’ll forgive you for walking by their Dean Street location in Soho and think, ‘been there, done that.’
What you may not know however is that beneath the floors of this high street institution lies one of Soho’s most intimate and best-loved Jazz clubs. Here, under the famous open planned kitchen, where men in striped shirts whirl your pizza crusts on their fingers, some of the world’s best Jazz talent have stunned intimate crowds, performed to fans both new and old, and been discovered by music studio bigwigs. To name drop a little, Tony Bennett, Sting, Amy Winehouse, Diana Krall and Norah Jones are just a few of the talented musicians to take to this stage. On the evening we were there a few weeks ago the club was host to Grammy nominated saxophonist Gerald Albright (he had literally flown directly from the Grammy’s the day before). Not so predictable from Pizza Express, right?
Despite how many times you have eaten at this chain, you can’t call the food predictable either. New, seasonal menu additions pop up all the time. Take this month’s twist on the classic dough balls, baked with Gran Moravia cheese. Two Romana pizzas, the Vesuvio and the Cipollini add a comforting winter twist with a sweet potato base and enough of a lashing of spicy chilli oil to keep the winter chill at bay.
So, whether you’re a Jazz lover or not, the atmosphere in this cosy basement room is contagious. Once the crowd starts tapping their feet in time to the music as you tuck into a pizza, we guarantee you’ll be drawn into not one, but two of Soho’s best traditions. To see upcoming shows at the Jazz Club Soho click here: http://www.pizzaexpresslive.com/
Pizza Express Jazz Club