For me pizza doesn’t come much better than at Pizza Express. The range is huge and freshness hard to top.

On our visit, my wife had the exceptional Veneziana (£7.45), a classic pizza dressed with pine kernels, crisp red onions, delicious capers, olives, sultanas, mozzarella and tomato, a truly taste-bud exploding mix.

Although, best-known as a pizza restaurant, PE also has an extensive menu of pastas and other quality tasty dishes.

In fact, having sampled many over the years, these days I tend to delve into other areas of its extensive offerings.

I decided on Nicoise (£9.70), one of my favourites. Although purists will scoff at my decision to leave out the anchovies, I reckon the salad of tuna, mixed leaves, vine tomatoes, capers, olives and delightful warm dough sticks, sprinkled with the house dressing, is perfect.

On previous visits I’ve also tried Calzone (£12.50), which is like a giant pasty. Inspired by the classic dish from Naples, it’s pizza dough folded around a delicious filling, baked with olive oil and grana padano until the outside is crisp.

Options include Calzone Salami and Salsiccia, with Italian cured meats and crumbled fennel, chilli sausage, peppers and more on the inside, and the Prosciutto Pesto version, which includes ham hock and roasted red onion. I opted for a vegetarian filling, which was superb.

Desserts are terrific. Mrs M had the new Lemon Torta – a deep set tart with light biscuit base served with mascarpone and fresh mint, lived up to her high expectations. However, at £5.15, I must admit it was expensive.

My choice - Caffe Reale (£4.15), one of PE’s mini-puddings that come with a coffee (or tea, if you want).

Again, with mascarpone, the delicate dessert is figs and cinnamon, soaked in a white wine spiced syrup, and an elegant way to complete a meal.

And if you want a starter you can’t go wrong either, try the bruschetta originale.

As for the staff, they are some of the most attentive and efficient I have ever known in a restaurant.

From tots to my 89-year-old mum, they are totally family friendly.

* The total cost of two main courses and desserts (excluding drinks) was £26.20.