The buzz: UK-based pizza chain PizzaExpress has over 500 branches around the world, and the first one for Singapore just landed in the basement of Scotts Square, with its cool interiors and handmade, Italian-style thing pizzas.
The vibe: It's pretty chic for a chain outlet that's in a mail. Think long, green leather booths, fake granite-looking tabletops, black and white images on the walls and an open kitchen where you can watch the pizzaioli flair pizzas made to order. The "alfresco" seating is a nice idea in theory, though your view is a bit uninspiring, of other shoppers, the escalator and the mouthwatering Maison Kayser next door. No matter. It exceeds our expectations, but some frosted glass panes would have gone far to give us a nice respite from the retail jungle.
The menu: The menu is brief and to the point: starters and salads, classic pastas ($16-24) and two kinds of pizzas (classic and the bigger, thinner, crispier Romana series). They're really proud of their dough ball starters, which come with garlic butter and two types of pesto. We thought they were little more than their names. You're better off saving your appetite for flavor-packed options like the American Hottest (pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, green and roquito peppers, $24) or the Pollo Forza (chicken with smoked chilli, garlic oil, red and yellow peppers, jalapeno, $23).
The drinks: Basic and effective, the brief drinks list has about a dozen wines, mostly Italian, with those by the glass ranging from $10-13. Peroni on draft is $16 a pint. Curiously, there is also Singha by the bottle ($10).
Why you'll be back: We can't think of too many other places among the malls of Orchard that serve solid, fresh and affordable pizza.