Last week I received an email from the Corn Exhchange in Manchester to say that some of the new restaurants are ready to open. More importantly it said that the new Zizzi branch was holding a training day, which meant I got to see the new venue and taste the food before anyone else. Result.
It’s been a long time since I ate in a Zizzi. It was always seen as a slightly fancier version of Pizza Express in my student days. So I was looking forward to seeing what they had to offer now.
So I booked a table for myself, my mum, Boy 1, with Boy 2 in tow. We arrived promptly and they had my details. Tick.
As we we had a buggy, we needed to use the lift to get down to the main restaurant. With it being a training day, staff were literally learning on the job so we were the lift guinea pigs. Low and behold we got stuck!
Once seated, our friendly waiter Zsolt came to the table to take our orders. Unfortunately a few items on the menu weren’t available, but he was quick to offer alternatives and recommendations.
We went for the garlic bread and Zizzi antipasti to start. Both came on rather trendy long wooden boards, which were rather impressive. The garlic bread, fresh pizza base with a tasty garlic butter, was more generous than expected. Slightly crispy, but soft in the middle.
The antipasti came with a selection of prosciutto, speck, coppa and finocciona, along with a dollop of creamy mozzarella, olives and dough sticks. While the meat serving s didn’t look particularly big, when combined with everything else, it was plenty. Definitely enough for three of us.
My mum went for the Calzone Pollo Spinaci. It was huge! Generous portion of chicken, mushroom and spinach, stuffed in a pizza base and topped with coppa ham. The little tomato sauce on the size was tasty, but not really necessary. All in all … Tick
I went for the Classic Caprina on a rustica base, which is stretched to a thinner, more oblong shape than the classic. The vegetarian pizza is topped with goat’s cheese, pepperonata, spring onions, roquito pepper pearls and baby watercress. All in all a very tasty and filling dish. Depending on the size of your appetite, I’d say it could easily be shared with a side salad.
The kids menu at Zizzi is pretty simple and to be expected. All receive a starter of carrot and cucumber sticks with a couple of dough sticks, which is just enough. Boy 1 did tuck into some our starter too, but he loves garlic bread. A choice of pasta (sauce options of bolognese, tomato sauce or cheese sauce) or pizza (choose your topping).
Both adults decided to go for a glass of wine (well, it would be rude not to!). The California Zinfandel was a little on the sweet side for me, but was chilled and refreshing, while the Montepulciano was crisp and light, a good value choice for lunch.
The good bit aka Dessert
Boy 1 chose a scoop of strawberry sorbet and a scoop of chocolate ice cream. Good enough size to fill smaller stomaches, although I wonder if a younger child would have been able to finish it all.
While mum decided to bow out after round two I just had to go for a dessert and chose the summer special Raspberry Rosa Sundae. If you are a fan of Eton Mess, this would work for you. Scoops of soft strawberry sorbet, ice cream, mascarpone, topped with meringue and fresh raspberries. Delicious!
All in all we definitely enjoyed our lunch. Good food and great service, a good choice for a family lunch, or a stop while out shopping if you don’t want to go for American style food or pub grub. Or total bill was just under £70.
Welcome to Manchester, Zizzi. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain the quality once the honeymoon is over and some of the other, more ‘exciting’ venues have opened their doors.