You probably know Zizzi. As restaurant chains go it hasn’t reached one-on-every-corner Pizza Express fame, but it’s certainly reached the one-in-every-sizeable-town milepost. I’ve eaten there many times. Like most reasonably-priced restaurant chains, it’s never been spectacular, but it’s been great for a quick bite with friends or a late supper after a film. I can’t say I’ve ever gone out of my way to eat at Zizzi for the menu before.
However, last night my average opinion of Zizzi was quashed and usurped by a significantly higher one. I was kindly invited to a special preview of the new Zizzi summer menu. A glance at the menu I was presented with on arrival warranted a level of scepticism. Could this run-of-the-mill chain really pull of Venetian tapas?
Three, ok seven, canapés later I was already eating more than my words. The Arancini (risotto balls) were melt-in-the-mouth divine and the mushroom bruschetta was as good as you’d find in small-town Italy.
For the next course I sampled the goat’s cheese salad, topped with butternut squash, lentils and mint, followed by an asparagus and ricotta masterpiece. As the title of this blog suggests, I’m not a natural salad fan, but the combination of flavours in these two unique dishes meant I would happily opt for a salad as a main.
Next came the real fun. Zizzi have finally solved the problems for fickle foodies everywhere with their new pizza meets calzone masterpiece, which I’m oh-so-cleverly dubbed the pizzone. My waning appetite at this point in the evening prevented me from gorging on the entire pizzone but I was in awe of the dish long after I left.
Just as I thought I would struggle with desert, the gelatos came out, with flavours in Latte, cream, chocolate and pistachio. And for the final trick? They were served on mini donuts. A delightfully creative end to an evening of fine dining, and not bad for a run-of-the-mill high street chain.