For those of you that aren’t aware, Zizzi is not a bankrupt remnant of the former Virgin megastore empire and nor is it the latest Manchester City big league signing. What it is, however, is a fairly decent imitation of an over achieving Ask Pizza - better grades, a readiness to suck up to you and a past that probably involved some form of bullying, most likely from that girl Bella Pasta and ‘er mate Pizza Express. In fact, if Zizzi does bare a strikingly uncanny resemblance to Ask Pizza that’s because it is one; sort of. Zizzi and Ask are like the Brown and Blair of yesteryear; a brotherhood, sort of.
This branch of Zizzi is but a stone’s throw from the Notting Hill Gate tube station; as long as you have an arm like BA Baracus and the wind is particularly favourable. It’s a sad row of naffness that leads to the restaurant: shops in varieties of kebab, betting and corner, each with its own sentinel tramp stationed outside. Nevertheless, once inside the seemingly relative safety of Zizzi’s impenetrable glass force field, the outside world is mostly a forgotten hindrance or simply a conduit for bands of streaming light to enter the establishment. Zizzi is bright; squeaky bright: the cutlery has a slasher’s glint; the mirrored walls and pillars snigger at their expansive appearance; and the entire front section is merely a portal through which the outsiders can peer in and stand agog at the open kitchen.
Any Zizzi worth its weight in tomatoes will proudly tell you how very very Italian it is, but this one just about staples it to your forehead. It looks and smells and sounds like an Italian: the look is a loud menagerie of open-mouthed stomachs ceasing to talk only when the next tasty shovelful of seafood risotto is readied; the smell is a screaming waft of buffalo mozzarella being deliciously cremated in the wood burning pizza oven; and the sound emanates from the staff who, regardless of their provenance, are all well versed in the art of Anglo-Italo accents, throwing down a gauntlet no Kate (Winslet or Blanchett) would dare to challenge.
The menu beats Nandos and Wahaca up the nationally-themed chain restaurant evolutionary ladder. The choice of available dining options is almost worryingly plentiful and items change as often as they should do, which is on a par with most high street sales. Plus, even though the menu is so hefty, the cooks still manage to rustle up a specials menu from somewhere (strangely, there might be something in the naming of this ‘specials’ menu and you might be better off choosing from it).
The carbon footprint in this place must be off the chart as much of the food is sourced from just down the road in local Italy. The cheeses, the wines, more or less everything they can get away with is Italian and the jury is still out on whether the Gloucestershire steak used to drive a Fiat and chain-smoke three packs a day.
Starter: whitebait, adequate. Not as crunchy as the same dish eaten in a Reel Greek restaurant only three days prior.
Main: Gorgonzola gnocchi, wintery; deserving of a scarf, a carrot and an errant piece of coal.
Dessert: the best. A strong almond obsession as Amaretto features almost everywhere (a good thing). However, as inviting as they are, it might be ill advised to opt for a dessert. Not because the consequent dish will be of a substandard quality. On the contrary, the magnitude of the task for consuming such a beast will leave you feeling a tad uncomfortable around the midriff as you roll out the door, giddy with post-feast haze, and wander straight into oncoming traff….SPLAT!
There’s no head chef creating masterpieces here. It’s mostly pre-created. Although the pasta is scolding hot and flavoursome, there are concerns that it may not be fresh. And this, an authentic dip into the seas of Italian culture?! Due to the sheer size and custom of the restaurant, it’s likely they try to sneak a few corners and have the food pre-made. Yet, regardless, it’s a chain that everyone feels comfortable with and one where you’ll indulge in an above average but no wow factor fare. Overall, a pleasing circus of service, a heavy set of desserts, and wine glasses that sharks could circle in. Grazie!
Customer Reviews for Zizzi
Average (based on 2 votes): 2 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Zizzi.
“This place has the rudest staff except one waitress that was nice. We waited ages to be served even though it wasn’t full and the waitor spoke to us as if he was doing us a favour letting us be there. We pointed out he had spoken rudely to us twice and he then said if you dont like it I’ll send someone else to serve you. No apology. Very unfriendly staff mostly and we left without ordering.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Lynne, London (2 years 7 months 12 days ago)
“For a chain restaurant this is actually surprisingly good. And it's only a minute from Notting Hill tube station and Hyde Park, so Central Line access is great. Top tip: choose any dish that contains tomato, fish, or gorgonzola. All are fab. Trust me. Oh, and the service is very jovial too, which is always a winner.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Leila, Earls Court (11 years 6 months 8 days ago)
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- Cuisine Type: Italian
- Group: Zizzi
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