Pizza Express was first started in Soho in London's West End in 1965 on Wardour Street. Founder Peter Boizot never realised how popular this endeavor would be and I am sure he never envisioned one of his restaurants being in the historic heart of the East End of London - Leadenhall Market.
From the outside the Pizza Express looks warm and cosy but doesn't look like there is a lot of dining space however downstairs they can seat 125-130 people (covers) in the recently renovated basement area. The space is spacious with lots of little areas that can be quite private if you wish. If the weather permits there is also seating for another 22 outside.
The walls have photos and memorabilia from the days when Leadenhall Market was a poultry and meat market as the photo below shows rows of turkeys and chickens hanging up for sale.
Leadenhall Market has a lot of history - owned and managed by the City of London Corporation since 1411 and was an important market to many of the East End residents. Although originally a Roman settlement it wasn't until 1411 that Dick Whittington (remember Puss in Boots!) acquired the lease of the building quickly leading it to become a major meat and fish market.
After parts of the market were destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 along with much of the city it was quickly re-built. In 1881 the stone structure buildings were replaced with wrought iron and glass and given the Grade II listed status it still holds today.
Today Leadenhall Market is a popular and modern retail centre - Pizza Express opened it's doors there in 2001. Original features of the meat and poultry market can be seen outside the restaurant. Samuel Pepys, who also frequented the market area said "When a man is tired of London he is tired of life." This is how I feel about London these days and I really appreciate the chance to discover these areas and facts around them.
My friend and fellow blogger Nayna from Simply F00D was with me at the event. Read what she thought of it by clicking here!