Last night I went the the Jazz club in the basement of Pizza Express at 10 Dean St. I was surprised. I’d always known there was a jazz club there but I had always imagined that the jazz was something of an after-thought; a cynical marketing wheeze mainly aimed at increasing the sale of pizzas. (Much like that famous Bagpipes at Burger King fiasco.)
But no, it turns out that Pizza Express have been turning out pizza and jazz combo’s for over thirty years. As we sat there watching the excellent Sam Coombes/Rob Chapman quartet, there was poster on the wall from a concert in 1976 when jazz and a pizza would set you back £2.50 in total. So maybe after more than 30 years, this is more than a flash in the pan.
This reminded me that there are over 12,000 restaurants in London. At the rate of one a day, it would take you over thirty years to visit them all. So if you were to dine out every evening you could, if you wanted, eat at a different restaurant every time and not have to go back somewhere you had been before for 33 years. Now, admittedly, several thousand of those will be the Burger King’s or his kith and kin but even if you avoid all of those there are still many years of varied dining. In fact, since more than 400 new restaurants open every year you need never return to a previously visited establishment.
But, as my first visit to the basement of Pizza Express confirms there are certain places you will want to return to. But even that is okay.. you can go at lunchtimes.