Most restaurants have got on the Christmas menu bandwagon this year- but not many eateries can boast an exclusive Vegan Christmas menu. Zizzi on the other hand can- and not just one- but two menus are on offer- so, when we were asked to try it out in the Trafford Centre last night I couldn’t say no.

Vegan Festive Pizza

Vegan Festive Pizza

Surprisingly, the Trafford Centre was quiet last night which made for a pain free visit (if you still have shopping to do- go now before the mayhem commences!).

After we had done some shopping and maxed our step count, it was time for something to eat.

The vegan menu is separated into two sections- the vegan options from the Menu Classico which has one option for starters, mains and dessert (3 courses for £19.95) or the Menu Super Frizzante which is three courses (two options each) and prosecco for £25.95. PS. they even do Skinny Prosecco now!

We were lucky enough to have Steve as our waiter again, so we knew we were in good hands if we had any questions.

All good meals start out with a drink and as it was a school night we decided to try all that the menu had to offer in new soft drinks.

We both had a Blackberry and Lemon Cooler- with sprite, fresh blueberries, mint and rosemary. My husband downed his before I had finished talking to Steve, which I took as a good sign, but it also meant I couldn’t try any! The only way I can describe this is like a Zizzi twist on a Vimto- it has the deep purple colour and fruity, fizziness of this beloved drink with a heathy twist.

Orchard Pig, is a drink you can only get in Zizzi restaurants or select supermarkets, so I just had to try the Very Berried- Strawberry, blackberry, apple and a cheeky twist of poppy. Berries and apples are a match made in heaven but poppies? This sounds like a strange combination- but actually it worked very well- the poppy is not overbearing and just lets you know it’s there at the end of every mouthful. Don’t believe me? Try it and find out for yourself!

The Raspberry and Mint Cooler is a new addition to the menu too- with Sprite, fresh limes, mint and rosemary. Both of the coolers can be swapped for soda if you’d rather this than Sprite. Another refreshing drink that teases you with flavours of summer but goes down a treat in the winter too.

Zizzi stock BrewDog- a vegan beer brand and they do have a non-alcoholic beer for if you don’t want to go nuts. The Nanny Slate is a full flavoured hoppy craft beer with a bitter taste and hints of pine and citrus and is just what you need of you really crave the taste of a beer on a weekday night.

To start my husband had the VEGAN BRUSCHETTA Speciality tomatoes, red onion & roasted garlic marinated in extra virgin olive oil on toasted bread with super green pesto & fresh basil.

Zizzi makes its own pesto from oil, basil and broccoli so this is ideal for vegans as well as anyone who suffers from a nut allergy. I tried some of it on its own and you can’t tell the difference. It looks AND takes like a nutty, cheesy pesto. (Don’t ask me how they achieve this with just veggies, but they do!)

I opted for the VEGAN TOSCANA SOUP- a hearty blend of tomatoes, leeks, grilled peppers, curly kale & quinoa because- well winter wouldn’t be winter without a hearty, chunky soup to tuck into. The quinoa gives you a protein hit too! This was served with a generous piece of bread that was drizzled in garlic oil as opposed to butter making it safe for vegans.

For our mains my hubby decided to go with the VEGAN FESTIVE RUSTICA PIZZA: Tomato, vegan mozzarella alternative (made with coconut oil), roasted butternut squash, caramelised balsamic onions, roasted red peppers, spinach & super green pesto. Although he wasn’t completely sold on the vegan cheese (as he is both a cheese and a meat eater) he enjoyed the soft, sweetness of the balsamic against the crunchy peppers. If you’re vegan and don’t like vegan cheese you can always ask for it without. I tried some and thought it was just fine- but then again, I'm used to the cheese alternatives and it meant I got to take the rest home for my lunch. 

I tired he VEGAN LENTIL RAGU for the first time- rich Italian lentil ragu with linguine. Although this is a simple dish- sometimes these are the best. The subtle Italian flavours and bite of the lentils against the soft linguine is just what you need on a cold Christmassy night.  Admittedly it’s a little messy if you are on a first date- but well worth the tomato tash at the end!  

The STICKY CHOCOLATE & PRALINE TORTE is a dairy-free chocolate torte with a date, hazelnut & walnut base. It was like a vegan’s alternative to Nutella- this pudding is very rich, so you might want to share, and the calorific content is redeemed by the ‘heathier’ base.  Sprinkled with cinder toffee and served with a side of coconut and chocolate ripple gelato- this is the ultimate vegan indulgence.

My partner had the GELATO & SORBET. Zizzi offer three vegan flavours-  coconut & chocolate ripple, strawberry and lemon. I would advise you to get a selection. Three scoops of one would be too much but the variety of flavours, the combination of creamy, fruity and sharp keep your taste buds interested. This also offers a lighter desert if you can’t manage a lot after your main meal.

It’s still saddening to see that many restaurants only offer a vegan version of something if asked or have only one thing to choose from, but Zizzi seems to be constantly evolving to keep up with the growing demand, and that’s great news for veggies like me and my fellow vegans.

The beauty of this eatery is they cater for so many different people- so if you are vegan and your company isn’t- it doesn’t matter because there is something to suit everyone. Although my husband wasn’t a convert to a vegan diet- it was nice to see him tuck into a veggie dish with me. This is something he rarely does and to me that’s a marker of how good the menu is because you don’t have to be vegan to sample the delights of plant based eating.  

Thanks to Steve for being so kind to us once more, it was great to see you again!

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