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.
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.
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?
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.
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.