After a sunshiny day-trip to Bristol Zoo Gardens, The Boy and I had planned the alfresco dining delight of wood-fired pizzas at quayside restaurant and grill, Spyglass. However, upon finding that their specialist oven had malfunctioned, we were somewhat thwarted and as a result had to take our growing craving for a satisfying (and affordable) pizza hit elsewhere**. Consequently, we headed to the 'safe-bet' of pizza outlets, Zizzi – this time their branch in Bristol's Cabot Circus...
Date and Time: Wednesday 4th May 2011, 17:30
Name of Establishment: Zizzi Ristorante*
Location: Cabot Circus (top floor), Bristol
Reason for Visit: A need to satisfy mutual pizza craving!
I think it's fair to say that The Boy and I are serious pizza connoisseurs and if Bristolian pizza outlets were pebbles, there are very few that we have left unturned. Previously visited venues have been mentally rated and categorised in terms of their authenticity, value for money and most importantly, the quality of ingredients sourced. On this occasion we turned to 'Voucher Cloud'* to facilitate our choice and the offer of two main meals for £12 at Zizzi Ristorante was just too good to miss considering that one main meal is typically the best part of a tenner! Now, there are three Zizzi restaurants in Bristol and although I find the atmosphere a little warmer at the Clifton Triangle branch, we were closer to Cabot Circus and so opted to save our legs and visit the Zizzi which is located within the plethora of restaurants that occupy its top-floor space.
From the onset of our visit, service, as always , was efficient and polite although a little formal for my liking. I sometimes feel that servers here are reciting lines from a memorised script and in comparison to neighbouring restaurant Giraffe, where you tend to chat to your server rather than converse, it can feel moderately stuffy.
Onto the food which was served promptly after ordering. The Boy and I had decided to share the two main courses so opted for a pizza and a risotto for a little variety! Pizza Sofia (£9.45) constituted a thin, crisp base which was laden with tasty toppings. The chicken was succulent and wonderfully spiced. It's flavour was also enhanced by the presence of fresh rosemary which shouldn't have worked alongside the more fiery elements to this dish but did! The generously scattered pepperoni provided a rich, oily warmth which, accentuated by the kick of green chillis, was a lovely contrast to the classically refreshing taste of mozzarella. The roasted sausage was a little lacking but all in all, there was so much going on here that the end result was a deliciously flavoursome pizza which certainly satisfied the aforementioned desire for this foodstuff!
The risotto we chose is a new addition to the Zizzi menu and features the smoky, almost autumnal flavours of pumpkin and pancetta (£11.50). With the well-seasoned nature and salty-twang of the cured meat as well as the herby additions of sage and thyme and the richness of wilted spinach, this dish had levels to its overall flavour which came through in bursts throughout the course of each mouthful. I loved the accompanying marscapone which, stirred through the rice, added swirls of smoothness to contrast its texture. I think the only thing that let this dish down was its presentation and although it can be argued that risotto can be difficult to attractively plate, it did not look overly appetising until I took my first forkful and all was forgiven!
|Pumpkin and Pancetta Risotto|
The Boy and I did not opt for puddings on this occasion but these are around the £5 mark, (the Mela Croccante (£5.25) was the most tempting in my opinion with apples marinaded in Amaretto liqueur and oven baked with a crumble topping). We washed our main courses down with soft drinks yet a sneaky peek at the wine list found detailed a vast selection of (largely Italian) wines; red white and pink which were costed, I feel, at the higher end of what is to be expected from restaurant pricing. If I had been after an alcoholic accompaniment to my meal, I would have chosen a glass of Prosecco (£4) which described as 'dry, lemony and light', would have particularly accentuated the flavours of the risotto dish.
I enjoyed my visit to Zizzi and it certainly served its purpose of providing The Boy and I with a great-tasting pizza hit, (with the added bonus of discovering a really lovely risotto dish). I can concur with the website's description of the Cabot Circus branch as providing a 'stylish dining experience' though I think perhaps in trying too hard to achieve this, the venue has lost a little of the laid-back atmosphere that Italian eateries are typically famous for. That aside,our visit was suitably pleasant, the food great and for under £15 for drinks and two main meals, you really can't complain!
And now for the second opinion...
The Boy gave Zizzi (Cabot Circus) 8/10 and in three words, chose to describe it as 'reliably tasty Italian'.
**NB. The folk at Spyglass did inform me that their pizza oven would be back up and running within the next couple of weeks and so, I hope to review this venue then.