I must congratulate Zizzi restaurant for quite simply getting it right. This popular Italian chain have opened a stunning new branch in St Giles Plaza (near Tottenham Court Road) and it conquers the surrounding eateries hands down. The venue that boasts artwork by promising artist Camille Rousseau, is quite unique in its design. I particularly love the wall decoration leading the way downstairs to the toilets, twisted branches romantically depicted and painted by hand.
The real selling point of this restaurant though is the fantastic new jazz night every Thursday... ‘Sing for your Supper’, raising money for the Prince's Trust. The night is led by charismatic musician Becki Biggins and the Laurie Holloway Trio, and every week diners are invited up to sing (from a list of about eight songs). If you sing, your supper is on the house – what could be better than that? With the recent closure of Pizza on the Park, and Jazz Pizza Express always in demand, it seems bizarre that no-one else has thought of this brilliant idea. Not only does it encourage young talented musicians, but also provides those eating at Zizzi’s a wonderful soundtrack to their meal.
The Launch of Sing for your Supper and Zizzi, St Giles took place last week, with pretty pink Prosecco and hot canapés on offer to all the guests. Becki was there, looking just the part in a sparkly gold number. I couldn’t stay for long, but was so impressed with every aspect of the restaurant and concept that I promised myself I would return.
And so I went to Zizzi, St Giles a second night to eat, and can honestly say it was scrumptious. The food is fabulously fresh and full of flavour, and I realised I was scraping up every last crumb despite the very generous portions.
To start we ate:
Our salute to the Italian flag: buffalo mozzarella,
fresh baby plum tomatoes and avocado with
CROSTINI FORMAGGIO DI CAPRA 4.75
Light, crisp ciabatta topped with goats’ cheese
and oven-baked with balsamic onions. Served with
mixed leaves in a honey mustard dressing
AUBERGINE PARMIGIANA 9.25
Aubergine in a rich tomato sauce oven-baked with
mozzarella and a big sprinkling of Grana Padano
cheese. Served with a mixed salad
CARNE PICCANTE 9.25
Chicken, meatballs and Bolognese, with
mushrooms, chilli, mozzarella, and tomato.
Served with a mixed salad
And for dessert:
TORTA CIOCCOLATA 4.95
Thick, crisp hazelnut and chocolate base topped
with a rich chocolate torte. Served with vanilla
A northern Italian speciality, our creamy vanilla
pannacotta is served with a fruit compote
All the food was excellent, and I can honestly say that Zizzi’s is now rivalling Pizza Express in my heart. I have included all the information above, so you can see what good value the food is.
The starters are wonderfully presented, no fuss, just good quality ingredients creating some of Italy’s favourite dishes. Mains are sublime in flavour and taste and my aubergine dish filled me up without making me feel bloated. The fact that I managed to fit in any dessert at all is a compliment to the standard of Zizzi’s puddings. I particularly loved the pannacotta, light but creamy with a subtle hint of vanilla.
Most of all though I found the service at this restaurant faultless. Friendly and yet discreet, I felt well looked after but not smothered as is often the case. Specials are given and extra condiments suggested at each course. I must also mention the complimentary homemade Zizzi ice-cream that came to our table with desserts (yes we looked like greedy pigs!) Two balls each of the most delicious gelati – strawberry, chocolate, creamy vanilla, and best of all a nutty pistachio.
You must visit this branch of Zizzi’s, try to go on a Thursday when the restaurant is transformed into a jazz soiree, with lucky hopefuls singing for their supper. I will be there singing a number on Thursday 23rd December, so come down and cheer me on, I may even give you a slice of my pizza in return.
Visit the Zizzi website here.
500 exclusive Zizzi goodie bags are on sale now for £6, with all the proceeds go to The Princes Trust.