I have been reflecting on some meals I had out over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I forget to write up the meal.
We went for lunch at Zizzi in Cabot Circys back in August 2019.
Though I have pizza most times I visit Zizzi, on this visit, not being overtly hungry I went with pasta. I had the Ravioli di Capra. Goat’s cheese & spinach-flecked ravioli with a tomato sauce, super green pesto & pine nuts.
Delicious but not a huge dish, so finished quite quickly.
With the easing of lockdown restrictions, restaurants from the 12th April were allowed to open for outside eating only. To be honest I wasn’t that excited about this, however with my birthday on the 13th we made the decision to go out to eat to celebrate. Last year on my birthday we were in the full lockdown and there was very little we could go and do, so had a lovely celebration at home and we had a fish supper with stir fry. So this year we were thinking could we do something different and could we go out to eat.
We booked a table at Zizzi at Cabot Circus in Bristol. This is “outside” but is in many ways under some kind of cover as well. So if it did rain, it shouldn’t have too much of a negative impact on the experience. We did wrap up warm though.
We had a warm if slightly confused welcome from the manager and we were shown to our table.
The paper disposable menus provided a wide choice, but I did quite fancy pizza so I went with the Rustica Primavera which has goat’s cheese, artichokes, spinach, fire-roasted peppers, olives, mozzarella, sunblush tomatoes & super green pesto.
It looked great when it arrived.
I really liked the freshness of the spinach, rocket and fresh pesto on the pizza. Though I like goat’s cheese, I actually think that I might prefer this pizza without it. The dough base was nice, and as it was stretched some areas were thin and cripsy, whilst other parts of the pizza were thick and doughy. I liked the olives and artichokes along with the tomatoes and peppers.
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.
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.
I don’t go to The Real Greek for a while and then I go not just once, but go again real quick.
I had actually intended to have pizza from Bella Vista down by Bristol Bridge, but they were really busy and there was going to be a long wait. I had enjoyed my recent visit so decided to go for their lunch deal again.
As before there was a warm welcome from the staff and this time I chose to sit inside. The Lunch Menu is a fixed price at £8.50, where you can choose between a Greek Trio or a Greek Plate or a Souvlaki Wrap & Side. This time I went with the trio of dishes.
I had the warm flatbread with houmous and taramasalata. A nice starter, though I should have asked for it to all come at once rather than separately. If I had chosen one of the other ramekins available, such as tzatziki, I would like to have that along with the main.
The middle of the trio was Loukaniko beef and pork sausage. A traditional Greek beef and pork sausage, chargrilled and sprinkled with oregano.
I’ve had similar dishes before and really enjoyed them, this was a tasty dish, strong flavours and a really meaty experience. It was served with smoked chilli relish, which I didn’t really like, I found it somewhat harsh and overpowering.
The final choice was the Aegean Slaw, thinly shredded cabbage, carrot, red and green peppers, with an olive oil dressing. I was slightly annoyed that the Loukaniko sausage was already accompanied by a reasonable portion of the Aegean Slaw, so I got extra slaw. If I had know this I might have chosen a different final choice. This was nice, fresh and crunchy.
The service was excellent, and it was a pleasant lunchtime experience with some great food, great value and nice environment.
It’s been a while since I was last at The Real Greek and I have been meaning to make a return visit for a while. Well looking for a place to eat and sit, even though it was a Thursday with the Temple Quay market been very tempting, I with a couple of friends decided to visit The Real Greek.
There was a warm welcome and what with the music playing inside, we asked to sit outside. Now outside was a weird thing as we were inside Cabot Circus, a shopping centre in the heart of Bristol. Even though technically it was inside the shopping centre, the way Cabot Circus has been designed and built, it’s more of a covered shopping area, in some places you can see sky above you and the whole place is open to the elements. So even though we were outside the restaurant, there was a glass roof above us. Having said all that, once you were sat down, it didn’t feel like you were in the heart of a shopping centre, it felt more like you were in a street cafe sitting outside watching the world go by, without the cars and scooters you would probably find in Greece.
It was really nice that a carafe of water (as in free tap water) was provided without us needing to ask. The last time I went I said
The Real Greek has a great lunchtime menu, and if I visit again I will probably choose from that and it looks like great value.
So I went to have a look this time at the lunch menu, though I was still somewhat tempted by the hot meze choices of grilled octopus and the lamb cutlets that I had on the previous visit.
The Lunch Menu is a fixed price at £8.50, where you can choose between a Greek Trio or a Greek Plate or a Souvlaki Wrap & Side.
The trio’s are fun coming on an afternoon tea style rack with the starter on the top, the main in the middle and the accompaniment on the bottom. Well I think it should arrive like that. Both times I have been, the dishes have been mixed around… The trio is also a great choice if you are vegan, as there are plenty of vegan choices available.
I went with the Halloumi Greek Plate which was served with saffron rice, a Greek salad, tzatziki and warm flatbread.
The halloumi was very nice, grilled, but not overcooked. The interesting texture, saltiness and flavour was balanced with the vibrant Greek salad comprising peppers, tomatoes, feta and lettuce. I enjoyed the flatbread which was soft and fresh.
Overall I really enjoyed the plate of food in a pleasant environment (and great company).
I am quite surprised by the turnover of restaurants in Cabot Circus. The branch of Cafe Rouge closed and was replaced by a Five Guys burger place. La Tasca, the Spanish tapas bar was shut down and the location became a Wagamama.
The Chimmi-Changa restaurant which I remembering visiting once, has recently closed and has been replaced with a new Greek place, The Real Greek. I did quite like the Chimmi-Changa concept, but having eaten there once, and rarely if ever having lunchtime specials, it wasn’t a place I ever went to again. If other people were thinking like me, not surprised it closed.
Obviously the whole place has been refurbished and has more of a New England feel to the place then a Greek taverna. There is a lot of blue coloured wood. It’s calm and welcoming.
The Real Greek has a great lunchtime menu, and if I visit again I will probably choose from that and it looks like great value. Looking over the main menu, they have a range of hot and cold meze dishes. I had two dishes, the grilled kalamari and the lamb cutlets. I had considered going with one of the lunchtime specials, but really wanted to eat squid and lamb, as they are two of my favourite foods and also are considered Greek specialities. They weren’t on the lunch menu, but the meze dishes are still good value for money.
The menu describes the lamb as grilled lamb cutlets, served with lentils and minted Greek yoghurt.
Though advertised as a meze dish this was quite a substantial plate of food. As well as three grilled tender lamb cutlets, they were arranged on a bed of tasty lentils. The flavour was great and really tasty.
The Real Greek describe the grilled kalamari as “Our own unique version, using the freshest squid and a sticky Greek honey and paprika marinade.”
I think you can tell a lot about a restaurant on how they cook squid. The dish looked interesting and not quite how I imagined. The squid was tender and tasty, the marinade wasn’t overpowering and enhanced the dish.
Overall I really enjoyed the food, it was fresh, tasty and looked great. The service was really good, friendly and welcoming without being overpowering.
Having taken my eldest for an early evening shopping trip, we decided to grab a bite to eat before heading home.
We didn’t really know what we wanted. Two places did appeal, Casa Brasil and The Real Greek, however both of these are so new they haven’t opened yet.
The Real Greek is replacing Chimmi-changa. I did have a nice meal there a couple of years ago, but hadn’t been back since. Quite like the idea of the new Greek place.
Casa Brasil, which is next door to Pizza Express will be an all you can eat barbecue restaurant. Again quite like the sound of this place.
However as both hadn’t opened yet, we had to make another choice. I was finding this quite a challenge but in the end the 2-4-1 on mains at Giraffe was the deciding factor. This seemed quite a generous offer for a Friday night, but then I wasn’t complaining. I was still being indecisive so went the Giraffe Ultimate Burger, where my eldest went with the beef brisket burger. So I enjoyed my burger, I think he made the better choice.
This was a generous burger complete with bacon and cheese, as well as two beef patties. This was full of flavour, not overly seasoned. A bit challenging to eat with your heads (as you would with a smaller burger) so out with the knife and fork. did enjoy eating the burger and the fries were nice.
Reflecting I realised there are quite a few burger places in Cabot Circus, there is the Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), Five Guys, Frankie and Benny’s must sell a fair few burgers as well. They are a staple of Coal too. Both Zizzi and Bella Italia has them on their menu too, not sure how Italian they are though?
I quite liked the environment at Giraffe, the staff were welcoming and friendly. With the two for one offer, it was also quite reasonably priced.