Friday, June 27, 2008

Food review: Zizzi

Tonight was the first time we've been to Zizzi (St. Albans), a chain restaurant owned by the ASK group. The 'Italian' restaurant is modelled similarly to Pizza Express and Carluccio's, in both style and cuisine (though Zizzi serves both pastas and pizzas, as well as traditional meals). Unfortunately Zizzi came no where near displacing the two as my favourite pizza/pasta chain eateries.

We had a selection of house breads for starter which mainly consists of red onion facaccia, Altamura bread and pane Pugliese served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This is very similar to the bread tin that Carluccio's serve but noticeably less tasty. For the main course we had spicy Italian sausages served with lentils and lamb shank. The Italian sausages are pretty good with a nice hint of spice, but Zizzi was very stingy in its serving with the sausages (two of them) and lentils taking up less than half the plate served. The lamb shank according to Jenni was average, but the serving was again disappointing. One of our table goers had their stone baked pizza, which she found to be dry. Another had steak - which came out chewy and a chore to eat with, apparently. She quipped that it felt like cheap steak.

Fortunately the desert we had was the high point of the evening - food wise at least. The oven baked Panettone al Forno is a bread and butter pudding laced with raisins and dried oranges. Served with a dollop of cinnamon ice cream, it was tasty and rich. Shame about the rest. At least the service was good, but does it matter if the food is below expectation? Believe me, stick with Pizza Express, Strada or Carluccio's (which after today I think is very generous and offers extreme value for money). At around £20-25 per head with drinks, we can't believe what the fuss is all about.


Grace said...

Jon: this is a very generous review. When I went to Zizzi, I didn't even get good service. I quite enjoyed the starter but my main (a salad) was not very nice at all. Perhaps I should have tried dessert but, after having bad service and a rubbish salad, I didn't fancy it. The serving staff were rude and sulky. Especially one of the waiters who snapped that he was too busy to give me my bill. This was at about 3pm and less than a third of the tables were taken: I think he should consider another job. In the end I had to get up and go to the till to corner someone to take my money! The woman who did my bill was the first member of staff to smile. In short, Bad food;Bad Service. Needless to say, I won't be eating there again.

Anonymous said...

The "new" Zizzi St. Albans is one of the worst dining experiences I have had in town. Glaring bright lights, terrible "tacky" colour and style scheme (no more cosy feel). Atrocious service, mixed up orders, reduced menu, below average food. AVOID AVOID AVOID. Put the terribly run ASK chain restr. out of business and get it replaced by a Strada or something decent.

La Cosa Nostra is the best Italian in town, go there instead. Friendly and intimate, great fresh food. Carluccios is okay but portions are small.

Anonymous said...

Zizzi's (St Albans) totally agree with the above comments -i went there a few days ago the pizza was nice but the pasta was rank! The service was poor. I won't be going back - Prezzo's and Pizza Express is a few minutes walk away from Zizzi's so there's plenty of other joints.

Message to Zizzi's - You suck!!