Monday 4 August 2014

Zizzi Bournemouth - a fabulous meal!

Earlier this week on holiday we were lucky enough to enjoy a meal at the Zizzi restaurant in Bournemouth and it was excellent. Now if you know my blog you’ll know that I do not just say that lightly or because it was a complimentary review meal, I’m not afraid to call it as it is and to tell you the good and the bad.

I’ve not been to a Zizzi before and I’m not sure why as I do generally like the chain pizza/ pasta restaurants and we visit places like Prezzo, Ask and Pizza Express fairly regularly. I’m happy to say we now have another option as I’d most definitely go to a Zizzi again, there are a few things on their menu that are just that bit different and that makes it interesting. JJ also announced that his pizza was to die for and he wants to go back and the person that really surprised me was my Dad. He is quite an old-fashioned chap and likes things to be pretty simple and as he expects and he announced that the Zizzi spaghetti bolognese was ‘out of this world’, his words, not mine. High accolade indeed.

Let me tell you a bit more about our meal -

Arrival and the Restaurant
Zizzi is easy to find on Richmond Hill and there is good visible red signage and a seating area outside for Al Fresco dining which is nice when the weather is good. On entering the restaurant it was busy at 6.15pm on a Wednesday evening and there was a nice buzz in the restaurant. Our table was reserved for 6pm and I apologised for our lateness but it did not appear to be a problem. We were given a booth that easily seated the six of us, down by the open air kitchen and the kids enjoyed watching everyone in the restaurant and seeing what the chefs were up to. The décor in the restaurant is fresh and modern and it all looks in good condition.

All our service was done by Ellie and she was excellent; attentive and very friendly. Nothing seemed too much trouble for her and she offered to take a group photo for us and I saw her charging someone else’s mobile for them. All the little bits that are often missed, like changing cutlery, offering more drinks, clearing bottles and checking how your food is were done and with a big smile.

For a busy service time we probably waited the sort of time I would expect. We arrived in the restaurant at about 6.15pm and ordered our food about 6.30pm after receiving drinks and having a good look at the menus. Within 10 minutes we had the kid’s starter and garlic bread on our table and then just after 7pm our main courses arrived. We ordered dessert at 7.25pm and left the restaurant about 7.50pm, so it was only 1.5 hours for a 3 course meal at a busy time, I think that is good going Zizzi.

Adult Menu         
Being sensible we knew that we would not be able to fit everything in so we just ordered some garlic bread to start and it was a really good sized portion for £3.95.

The adult menu had a wide selection of pizza, pasta and also other main courses. Both my parents went for a pasta dish and I fancied something a bit different and had a Zizzi Spiedini, which was a Mediterranean hanging chicken and vegetable kebab. This was served with Tuscan potatoes and a lemon and white wine sauce, which was thick and creamy and I loved it. The Rigatoni Carbonara is £9.75, the spaghetti bolognese is £8.95 and the spiedini is £13.25 and I added a side of long stem broccoli to mine, which was another £3.00. These prices are pretty much on a par with similar restaurants I think.

We were all temped to have desserts after our main courses but found that actually the dessert menu did not inspire us as much as we might have liked. My Dad decided not to have anything and Mum went for a lemon meringue sundae which I was surprised about as she is not an ice cream person. I had an Espresso Affogato which is not something I’d normally choose but I often find that is when you find the best things. It was lovely to pour my hot espresso on my vanilla ice cream and enjoy it with the crushed amaretti biscuits. Desserts ranged between £4.95 to £5.95.

Bambini Kids Menu
My three children all ate from the Bambini menu, which is £6.75 for three courses and a Chocacino. The price includes carrot, cucumber and dough sticks to start and there was definitely enough vegetables but there was only one dough stick, about the size of a finger and they were all disappointed with this and felt there should have been more. So they were pleased I had ordered some garlic bread for the table as this was large enough to feed us all.

The main course was a really good size pizza or pasta portion and they all enjoyed this a lot. As part of this new menu kids can either choose up to 2 pizza toppings or you can create your own with a margherita pizza and a little pot of mini plum tomatoes, black olives and a slice of ham. The pizza was big enough for my large 10 year olds appetite which I was impressed with. He was a bit miffed though that the sausage meat was slightly spicy and the menu had not stated this, perhaps something to highlight as kids order. I also like the fact you can add green beans or long stem broccoli for an extra 50p, nice to see a restaurant offering some greens.

The dessert on offer for kids was ice cream or ice cream which seemed a bit limited. Yes the ice cream (or should I say gelato) was good and two of my kids really enjoyed the Bambini cones, where you get two small scoops of vanilla, 2 mini sugar cones and a tray of chocolate covered popping candy.

At the end the children also have a mini chocacino included but actually forgot to order these and left without them – silly us!  I’m sure they would have been very good though as my Mum had a Cappuccino and that was very good and the presentation glass was a nice touch.

Overall restaurant experience
As soon as we were seated the kids were given a children’s menu which include some room for drawing and a few fun activities to do. There was also a chef’s hat for them to decorate and stickers to do that with. Zizzi have partnered with Crayola recently and my children were impressed to be given twistable crayons to use for their colouring and fun. The children were impressed to read that their creation could be given to the restaurant and then they would be added into a monthly prize draw to win a meal and Crayola goodie bag.

We found the noise level in the restaurant to be fine and we felt happy and cosy in our booth. It was quite warm at times but the heat outside was 26 degrees so to be expected I suppose. I’m not sure there was air conditioning in the restaurant but it certainly was not too hot. The toilets are upstairs and were well presented and clean, it is always good to find cubicles that are large enough for parents to go in with their children, especially when you have twins like me.

What would I improve?
In the main we had an excellent meal and I’d happily visit again but if I could give any feedback to Zizzi as a brand it would be to ensure the kids starter had at least 2 or 3 dough sticks in it and also I’d say your dessert menus are a bit ice cream heavy. Where is the cheesecake for the adults and a different option for the children?

With regard to Bournemouth restaurant the only thing I could say was to make sure side dishes come out at the same time as main courses as my broccoli was probably about ten minutes later than my main course but I was still eating and it did not spoil my meal at all.

Thank you very much Zizzi we had a lovely time and hope to come and visit you again soon.

Disclosure: We received a complimentary meal for the purpose of writing this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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