It was more late afternoon than early evening do when we arrived there was quite a bit of space, when we left the place was full and there was a queue outside.
I don’t think I could quibble with the service, which was warm and friendly, however our food at Zizzi could have been so much better.
Checking the menu, I decided to start with the calamari before then having a Rustica Pinoli Pizza.
The calamari was nice, but they had run out of aioli and though I asked for some mayonnaise they came back with tomato ketchup (seriously) and a separate pepper sauce (which was nice), however neither of these really complemented the calamari in the way that the aioli would have.
We also had some gluten free garlic bread, which was nice and garlicy, however was slightly overdone. I was all ready to complain and ask for a replacement, but I was out voted!
My Rustica Pinoli Pizza had goat’s cheese, mozzarella, caramelised balsamic onions, baby slow roast tomatoes, pine nuts & riserva cheese.
I’ve had this before, and though I think it needed more pine nuts, it was rather nice. There is a nice mix of flavours, from the cheese to the caramelised balsamic onions which add to the pizza.
What was interesting was that the other Rustica Pinoli we had on the table was overcooked compared mine. I did offer to swap but this was turned down.
We did the Eat Out scheme so we got 50% off, which wasn’t a bad deal. However the lack of consistency of quality in the food, means I don’t know when I will be going back to Zizzi again.
I have made my own gluten free pizza dough, but I was intrigued when I found the Davina Steel Pizza Base Mix in my local branch of Waitrose. I had tried their Focaccia mix and we had enjoyed eating that.
The process of using the mix is rather interesting in that you stir the mix, with yeast and water, into a batter and then “cook” the bases in a dry frying pan. Basically you spread the batter into the frying pan, cook on the hob, before removing. You then add your tomato base, cheese and toppings, before finishing off in a hot oven.
I was really impressed with the end result, these looked and tasted like pizza. I personally think the bases are better than others we have bought, both mixes and ready made bases.
It was me eldest’s birthday and as a surprise we took him to Prezzo in Bristol. Most of the restaurants in Weston-super-Mare are still closed and we had some surprise guests for him coming from London, so Bristol was a better choice for us.
We had visited this branch in the old Leadworks before back in November, well before all the Covid-19 stuff and had a really nice meal.
This time, we booked in advance, as it was a Thursday, we couldn’t do the Government Eat Out scheme, but that wasn’t really an issue for us. Though from what we heard the day before with the Government Eat Out scheme they were really busy.
The Covid-19 restrictions meant that they had a one way system in the restaurant and they had reduced quite dramatically the number of tables in the restaurant. I think this was slightly exacerbated by the fact we were a party of eight, so putting all the tables together meant that it looked a little more sparse and barren than “normal”.
We were slightly early, but we were given a warm welcome and shown to our table. You can use an online process for ordering food and drinks, but we were given the option of ordering from the waiting staff, which we chose. We did this partly, as I didn’t want to use the phone to order, but also to ensure that when we did order the gluten free dishes we knew we would need that this would be taken down and recorded accurately. It was also nice to interact with a real person. Ordering by phone reminds of the self service tills you find at supermarkets, they have their place, but sometimes you need to or want to interact with a person. I think there is a time and place for self-service or automation, then there is also a time and place for service by a real person. When I go out to eat, it’s not just the food I am going for, but the whole dining experience, which includes service and atmosphere as well as excellent food.
We ordered some drinks, well coffee for me as we waited for the rest of the table to arrive. As we waited I looked over the menu. Prezzo currently have a limited menu, about 50% I think of the old menu, but there was still quite a bit of choice of starters and mains.
I wanted to start off with the calamari, but they had run out, so I went with the hummus instead.
This was rather tasty and there was a nice portion of fresh flatbread to go with it. It was a nice start to the meal.
For my main course I wasn’t sure if I wanted a pizza or something else. In the end I went with a large Mushroom, Spinach and Olives Pizza that came topped with rocket leaves.
This was a really tasty pizza and I enjoyed eating it.
It was nice not to be rushed, and we spent quite a bit of time in the restaurant eating and talking. We finished off the meal with some more coffee.
I have to say that the gluten free Pizza Express pizza you can get from most supermarkets are pretty good, as are those you can get from most high street restaurants.
Being on lockdown though means that going out for pizza isn’t going to happen, also we were avoiding unnecessary trips to the supermarket as well.
So we decided to make our own pizza. This was somewhat of a challenge, as though we had yeast, we had no bread flour, so we decided to use gluten free plain flour.
225g strong plain flour (we used plain flour)
1 tsp fast acting yeast
½ tsp salt
150mls of hand hot water
4 tablespoons of tomato puree
85g hard cheese
Selection of toppings
Mix the yeast with the flour and add the water.
Mix into a dough.
These were then rolled and flattened into pizza shapes on a baking tray.
We then put them in a warm place to rise. I think we should have left them for longer to enable them to rise further, but we were short on time.
I think it might have worked better if we had bread or strong flour.
The last time we did this (we used bread flour) the toppings were cooked well before the base was done. I don’t have a pizza oven or a pizza stone. Previously when making “homemade” gluten free pizza, we have used ready to go bases. So this time I part baked the bases to ensure that they were cooked properly.
We then used tomato puree for the tomato base. I would have preferred to use passata but the family don’t like it very much, it can also make the dough soggy, works better in a proper pizza oven.
We then added a range of toppings including pepper, mushrooms, red onion and ham.
We only had cheddar cheese in the fridge, I would have preferred grated mozzarella, but all we had was the cheddar.
Overall, it was nothing like Bella Italia or Pizza Express, however they were delicious and were finished off in double quick time. Lots of conversations about was our food okay and did we want to see the dessert menu.
To celebrate a birthday we decided to end up at Zizzi in Cabot Circus. The place was busy, and we had to wait about ten minutes for a table. Well to say the place was busy, was a bit of a poor description. There were plenty of free tables, but I think they were short-staffed, so couldn’t serve all the tables, or cook the food. Regardless of the reason, there were empty tables, and we were shown to our (small) table.
The welcome was warm and friendly and it was easy to order our food. Our dietary requirements were taken care of and we pursued the menu.
I went with the Rustica Primavera, which is their stretched pizza with goat’s cheese, artichokes, spinach, fire-roasted peppers, olives, mozzarella, sunblush tomatoes, super green pesto & rocket.
The pizza was cooked well and there was an abundance of toppings, even so I would have liked a but more artichoke. The pesto was nice, and I quite like fresh rocket on my pizza, I feel I am eating something healthier than it actually is.
I really enjoyed my pizza, there is something consistent about the quality of the food and the service at Zizzi, which means I go there a lot, more than other chains. Having said that, looking over the blog, I realise not only am I going to Zizzi a lot, I am also basically eating the same pizza each time I go.
When it comes to chains, I really do like eating at Zizzi. Unlike some other chains, I don’t think I have ever had a need to complain. The branch at Cabot Circus is very nice and I have been there quite a few times. Despite the openness of the restaurant it doesn’t feel crammed with tables like a canteen, even when it gets busy.
We had a warm welcome and we could choose where we wanted to sit, which was nice.
There is quite a varied menu, but in the end I went with theClassic Pinoli Pizza. This has goat’s cheese, mozzarella, caramelised balsamic onions, sunblush tomatoes, pine nuts, riserva cheese & basil.
Checking the blog I realised that I had been to this branch of Zizzi in Bristol back in March and had ordered the same pizza then as I had this time.
Back then it was tasty and this time it was equally tasty. Last time I had it on a rustica thin and crispy base, this time I went with the doughy classic base.
The service was quick and efficient, but we weren’t rushed at all.
In the past we’ve had some good experiences at the Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway and we’ve had some pretty poor ones too. We have been there a number of times, and they have revamped the places a few times over the years. Now it has a more of an American diner feel to it, rather than the Italian restaurant style it had before.
One of the key reasons we decided to return to eat was that we had a special offer. We used an offer code, so we only paid five pounds for each dish, which made the whole meal very good value for money.
Though we had to wait for a while, we were once our table was ready we were given a warm and friendly welcome and and it was quick and easy to place our order.
I ordered the Funghi Luganica – A ‘white pizza’ with a mascarpone and porcini base, topped with garlic & thyme chestnut mushrooms, pancetta, Luganica sausage and mozzarella.
I’ve had this pizza before at Bella Italia and I enjoyed it last time, and I enjoyed it this time as well. The base is mushroomy (is that a word) and savoury, over the traditional tomato that you find on most pizza. The chunks of mushroom on the pizza were very nice and I really enjoyed them.
My son had the Queen Margherita pizza. Tomato and mozzarella base, oven-baked then topped with torn bufala mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, rocket and green pesto.
This looked great and he said it was fresh and tasty. It was finished off, which doesn’t always happen.
My wife had the fresh egg tagliatelle in a tasty carbonara sauce with crispy pancetta and leeks.
However this didn’t look anything like the picture on the menu on the website when we got home, where are the leeks? Having said that she did say the pasta was very tasty.
Service was mixed, our main waiter was warm and friendly, but other staff looked rushed and flustered.
Overall though we had an enjoyable dining experience.
With just the three of us, and having just visited the cinema we ventured in, having booked a table earlier that evening. That made sense as the place was quite busy and we were given a nice booth.
One of the features of Pizza Express is that they individualise their restaurants depending on location. The Weston-super-Mare branch for example has beach huts. Pizza Express at Cribbs Causeway has a number of Banksy inspired graffiti executed in his distinctive stencilling technique. I don’t think they are painted by him though.
Taking the time to peruse the menu I was tempted to have a salad, but in the end decided to go with the pizza option.
I was tempted by the Calabrese, which I have had before, but decided to try the new Funghi di Bosco. This pizza comes with portobello mushroom, tomato, mozzarella, rosemary and garlic oil, finished with fresh parsley and shaved Gran Milano cheese on a Romana base.
I was warned that despite no mention of this on the menu description, the tomato sauce that they use on this pizza was quite spicy, nice of them to warn me, but I decided to go down that road.
Before the pizza arrived we shared a portion of Calamari, described as lightly-crumbed, crispy calamari rings served with Çaesar dressing, a wedge of lemon and fresh parsley.
The squid was quite tender, even if the crumb wasn’t that crunchy. I thought it was okay, but I was a little disappointed. Regular readers of the blog will know that I find the way in which a restaurant serves squid or calamari, is a good way to compare or benchmark across various restaurants.
The pizza arrived and it was large, the Romana base, is stretched out and as a result is thin and crispy. I do quite like this kind of base.
I found the pizza delicious and tasty. There was plenty of mushrooms and they had a nice mushroom flavour, it was the reason I chose this pizza more than any other reason.
Our table also saw the Leggera Superfood Salad, a mix of black rice, edamame beans, red quinoa, mung beans, chickpeas, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and kale in a vinaigrette, on a bed of mixed leaves, rocket, cucumber, roasted peppers, red onion and fresh parsley with our light house dressing.
This was delicious and fresh.
Another member of our party had the Fiorentina pizza on a classic base. This has spinach, free-range egg, mozzarella, tomato, garlic oil and black olives, finished with Gran Milano cheese. Apart from the olives, it was eaten with gusto and pronounced scrummy.
Overall we were well pleased with the food, which was fresh, hot and tasty.
As for the service… well that’s a slightly different matter. To start off booking the table and the welcome we received was excellent. It was warm and friendly and we were made to feel right at home.
Alas our drinks order was incorrect and we had to send it back, even though I think it was a genuine mistake down to a noisy busy restaurant.
We had one big concern, the jug of tap water we were given without asking, was a nice touch. What did concern us was the huge crack in the glass jug which was leaking water. We were worried that the jug would break apart… We got a replacement, and an apology. That jug also had a crack, not as big, but still….
Our starter of calamari arrived promptly and we enjoyed eating it, but we hadn’t even finished our final mouthful when our pizzas arrived. I do like a bit of a gap between the starter and the main, and prefer not to have them on top of each other. We have gone out to eat and when going out it’s not just about the food, it’s the whole experience.
We hadn’t even finished our mains when we got asked a couple of times if we had finished. Rushing people isn’t needed (there were a fair few empty tables) and it can ruin what is actually a quite nice experience otherwise.
Overall not as good service as it could have been, the staff were certainly friendly, helpful and polite, but the service felt somewhat rushed and disorganised. When you get asked a few times if you want desert, you know that something is amiss.
Having said that we did really enjoy the food and overall the whole experience was good. Would we go again? Yes we would.
Bristol has many places to eat and as well as high street chains there are many independent places. Having been invited to dinner the family headed off to one such independent place, the Florence Lounge in Totterdown in Bristol.
It certainly is a popular place with most tables reserved, even though we went to eat in the early evening. It was a hot and sunny day, so they had put most of their tables outside. They don’t have air-conditioning, so on a hot day you will want to sit outside.
I went with the Gamberi pizza. It came with a base covered in homemade tomato sauce, baby spinach, mozzarella, king prawns, silver skin anchovies, roasted asparagus, black olives, lime and rocket.
I loved how there was a varied selection of toppings on the pizza and the handful of fresh rocket was a nice addition. The prawns were very tasty and I enjoyed the silver skin anchovies. If these had been traditional salted anchovies then I may not have ordered the pizza. The base was cooked well and wasn’t soggy. I have had better bases recently and I felt that it let down the pizza slightly.
Unlike many other restaurants, you order and then pay at the till. The food is then bought to your table.
For those who are gluten free, unlike many pizza places these days, the only gluten free option is gluten free pasta and there is no gluten free pizza available.
Be aware that it is cash only, but there is a free ATM next door in the Tesco. Also it doesn’t have a licence, but you can bring your own alcohol if you want to (again useful having the Tesco next door.