Saturday, 16 July 2011

A Taste of Zizzi Ristorante

Interior - Zizzi St Giles Launch

Last week I was invited to Zizzi’s new restaurant to sample their new summer menu.  We went along to the Zizzi Central St Giles branch which is located just of St Giles Street, next to the Shaftsbury Theatre and is just 5 minutes walk from Tottenham Court Road station.

We were treated to an endless array of food and wine but the highlights for me were the setting, the artwork, the Cichetti, the Calzon’Pizzas and the sorbet.

Kitchen - Zizzi St Giles Launch

Zizzi Central St Giles is brand new and was only opened at the end of last year.  I loved the design and spacious feel to the restaurant and I liked that the food preparation takes place directly in front of the diners.

Zizzi has launched the  Fresh Talent initiative where they work closely with selected up-and-coming artists and provide a platform for them to develop their art.  The featured artists entered into the Deliciously Stylish competition to redesign the Zizzi menu but their art has also been commissioned and placed in Zizzi restaurants across the country.  Perhaps my favourite initiative was the Tela Vuota (Italian for ‘blank canvas’), where the artists had the chance to paint their art on the walls of the Glasgow West End restaurant.

Artwork - Zizzi Fresh Talent

I love initiatives like this because I feel that by getting involved with the local community, businesses can establish mutually beneficial relationships that will enable artists to thrive and also stimulate that part of the economy.  Even their photographer (pictured above) is part of the Fresh Talent initiative.

How stunning are these menus?

Fresh Talent Menus - Zizzi

The Cichetti (pronounced chik-et-tee) are Venetian tapas, little Italian bite-sized snacks. The range includes Insalata Caprese (with fresh buffalo mozzarella and plum tomatoes), Ravioli Croccante (with crispy spinach and ricotta) and Arancini risotto balls but my personal favourite was the creamed mushrooms on toasted Italian loaf.

Zizzi - Arancini Risotto Balls

The Calzon’Pizzas is a fabulous idea and is the invention of head chef Angelo Garafolo. Calzone pizzas are folded over pizzas and because they are usually stuffed with extra cheese and fillings, they can be extremely filling.  The Calzon’Pizza combines a pizza and a calzone.  It is approximately one-third calzone and two-thirds pizza, meaning that you can finish the whole thing yourself and not have to share!  Brilliant result.

The absolutely highlight of the evening was Kitty Traver’s Blood Orange Sorbetto.  I am a fan of lemon sorbet anyway but this was so incredibly yummy.  They warned us that the sorbet was limited edition but that if we were vocal enough, they’d keep it on the menu as a permanent fixture.  Fingers crossed!

It is always lovely to go to events like this because you get to sample a restaurant’s food and learn about the ideas and creativity that go into designing their menus and recipes.  If you’d like to sample the Cichetti, you’ll need to go to the Banstead, Charlotte Street or Central St Giles branches.  Another good reason to go to the Central St Giles branch is that they have live music on a Thursday evening.

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17 comments

  1. Wow, it looks really impressive. And as a lover of live music I will have to add this place on my list of places to try. Yum!

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  2. Wow.....so delicious just look of the pict..

    i really want to try this...

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  3. "Last week I was invited to Zizzi’s new restaurant to sample their new summer menu". Do you mean you visit the restaurant and write up the visit in your blog, to pay, as it were, for the night out?

    I am in the wrong blogging area! I reviewed a book about 18th century architecture which was fun to review, but I would much rather be eating calzone pizzas, Insalata Caprese and Ravioli Croccante.

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  4. ok, I've been to some pretty amazing tapas restaurants, but those Italian croquette looking bites sound and look amazing. I really wish we had places like this around where I live.

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  5. Looks like a really nice and special place. Great tree in the first picture. I like calzone to. Well, I like everything Italian:-)

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  6. This place look wonderful, great food severed amidst all this beauty! I too love the menus.

    thanks for taking us along on this delicious adventure!

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  7. They say the best restaurants are the ones you can see the kitchen. Fabulous food!

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  8. The art link sounds interesting too.

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  9. What a fabulous restaurant, I love the art and the fact that you can watch the chefs at work.

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  10. Wow I love the open kitchen! Its so fun to watch the chefs at work!

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  11. Hi Emm! It’s not what it seems: I’ve just been too busy... No holidays... ;)

    No chance for my diet... ;)

    Blogtrotter Two is posting on Corsica this summer... Enjoy and have a wonderful week!!

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  12. Wow this looks great! An Italian restaurant with a fresh approach.
    I really like it, but I wonder how expensive can a dinner at this place get... Quality usually comes with a price. :)

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  13. This looks so mouth watering - I've yet to eat this evening! I've seen Zizzi branches here and there but haven't tried so far. I really must, especially if they're encouraging local artists.

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  14. How lucky to receive an invitation to such a nice restaurant! I really like the openness of the kitchen, but then again, many Italian restaurants have a similar layout. Those menus are a work of art.

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  15. Calzones? Count me in! I have been dying for a calzone lately- probably b/c they are so hard to find here. Will definitely have to check out the new Zizzi.

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  16. The calzone pizza was exceptionally good, as was the sorbet. I wasn't so impressed with the salads which were 10 quid a pop...ooch!

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