We were invited to try the new Spring menu at Zizzi last week, which now includes vegan options such as a mozzarella alternative and vegan desserts. I just had to share my thoughts on my experience for my fellow vegans out there.
Zizzi is located on the Coliseum Park at Cheshire Oaks on the end of the row of restaurants, so it's easy to see from the roadside. Parking was a little tricky as it was busy due to the bank holiday rush, but if you are patient, you will get a spot within the car park right outside.
We were about an hour early, however Sarah kindly found us a table so we could eat before our original booking time.
The restaurant itself reminded me of an Alice in Wonderland tea party. The room was filled with wooden chairs in bright shades of yellows and reds and teacups were hanging from the ceiling on wires about our table.
The cooking area was exposed, boasting a huge clay oven so we could see the food being prepared from our seat.
Along one wall there were paintings of houses, trimmed with grass as if you were looking at them from the local park, beneath a tree canopy with twinkly lights. Complete with metal shelving lined with pastas and books, the décor was a snapshot of modern city life from the quaintness and charm of a kitchen.
We were served by Jimmy who was enthusiastic about the new menu. He had not sampled many of the new dishes so he was curious to know how the customers were responding to them.
I tried the New Nocellara Giganti Olives- Giant bright green olives sourced from Trapani, Sicily, served naked. The most sought after olives in the world some say. They arrived in a metal cocktail glass, which was something new and luckily, my partner hates olives so I had to eat them all! I can understand why they come so highly recommended as they were very soft and fleshy. There weren't many in the glass however they are so big you only need a few to fill you up.
We shared the Garlic bread with Mozzarella and caramelised balsamic onions (with the vegan cheese) as another starter. It was unusual to have such a wet and sweet accompaniment to garlic bread, but the onions spread on top brought a tanginess to the doughy bread and worked surprisingly well. Like a very fancy and savoury take on toast and jam!
I went for the Classic Zucca- a creamy pesto base with vegan mozzarella, roasted butternut squash, caramelised balsamic onions and spinach. Once baked, topped with pine nuts and rosemary for my main. Jimmy was very helpful when I ordered as it normally comes with goat's cheese so he checked with me that I wanted to substitute that with vegan cheese.
I have never eaten a pizza with butternut squash on it before so it had to try it just once. This pizza is perfect for lovers of the Hawaiian variety as it is sweet just like the pineapple brings to the Italian classic. I was very glad to be able to sample another dose of the caramelised balsamic onions too (I think they are my new favourite food!). The onions did make the pizza quite wet, so you have to eat it with a knife and fork. Apologies to those who like to eat a good slice with your fingers- this is a pizza to eat with more finesse.
My husband is not vegan so he sampled the Casareccia Pollo Picante- Spicy picante chicken in a creamy sauce with fresh tomatoes and baby spinach. I couldn't try it for obvious reasons but he was very pleased with his choice. He had a craving for pasta so it hit the spot and he said the spiciness was just right- not too much and not too little. Again, it didn't look like a huge portion on the plate but it was deceptively filling.
By this point, we were stuffed so we opted to share a dessert. There are three vegan gelatos on the menu- lemon, strawberry and coconut with a mango swirl. You can have three scoops in one sitting so we were able to sample them all. I am a big fan of coconut so the coconut and mango gelato was especially yummy- my hubby kindly let me have the last spoonful. The lemon had a real zing to it- it certainly clears your palate after the meal. The strawberry one tasted like the ice cream version of a Starburst sweet- creamy and fruity. All three were a light and refreshing way to end the meal. All washed down with a New Tea Pigs Superfruit Tea. Just glorious!
Overall I was really impressed with Zizzi- the price falls in line with its other competitors so you will pay the same as a meal in other restaurant chains of the same ilk.
Jimmy was a delight to meet- he was very attentive and had a lovely manner about him.
It's about time other chain restaurants caught up and provided more vegan options- until then there is only one destination for dairy free pizza!
Thanks to Jimmy, Sarah and the rest of the team for making our night so enjoyable.