Zizzi Ristorante

Rustica Pizza with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomato

Rustica Pizza with Parma Ham and Rocket

A cheeky weekend trip to Bristol was enhanced by an excellent evening meal at Zizzi, a popular Italian chain of restaurants in the UK.

The restaurants appearance was typically chic with dark wooden furniture, dimmed lighting and perfectly laid out tableware. An incredible, fiery masonry oven towered over the open kitchen, ensuring in my mind that the pizzas would be of a high quality. I was not proved wrong.

The menu featured classic Italian dishes with an abundance of olives, breads, pastas and pizzas.

We began our meal with a selection of mixed olives which were delicious. More interestingly however, was the unique, little, wooden bowl the olives arrived in. It had a main bowl for the olives and a smaller bowl attached to the side to leave the olive stones in. I don’t know why we were only given two toothpicks when there were clearly four of us though.

Calzone with Chicken, Meatballs, Bolognese, Mushrooms, Chilli, Mozzarella and Tomato

Calzone with Chicken and Meatballs

Two ordered the newly featured ‘Rustica’ pizzas which are supposedly thinner, crispier and loaded with more toppings. Myself and another chose to have the calzone, ‘carne piccante’, which contained chicken, meatballs, bolognese, mushrooms, chilli, mozzarella and tomato.

The calzone was spectacular. It was great to find that the dough was crisp and full of flavour because it can sometimes be very dry and bland. The filling was tasty and packed with different herbs and spices. I do feel however that the chefs were a little bit stingy with the meats and a little bit too generous with the chillies. I found myself searching for the one piece of chicken I was given for the entire course of the meal and my final mouthful was ruined by an overload of chilli. This was unfortunate as I did not have much Sicilian lemonade left to help calm my flaming mouth.

Overall, the meal was very good value because we were able to claim a promotional code from VoucherCodes.co.uk which gave us 2 mains for £12.95. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the restaurant which was definitely a highlight of my Bristol adventure.

The Verdict:

  • Food: 7/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Atmosphere: 8/10
  • Price: 7.5/10
  • Overall: 7.1/10

If you think Zizzi should open up a restaurant in Southampton, tweet them @WeAreZizzi

Are Dog-Friendly Restaurants Going A Step Too Far?

DogThe Bluebird Restaurant in London has announced that it will be launching a brand new dog-friendly menu as part of it’s ‘VIP Bites and Bones’ event, promising to deliver a whole range of “doggie cocktails, canapés and goodie bags”.

The Bluebird is not the only restaurant seeking to expand its market by catering to the needs of a more hairier clientèle. The Rivington Shoreditch restaurant in east London will be celebrating the Queen’s birthday by rewarding those who show up for lunch with a corgi with a free bottle of prosecco.

George, a members’ club in the capital, held a special party to launch their new dog menu last month. Model, Yasmin Le Bon, and shoe designer, Patrick Cox, brought their pets to be the first to try the canine cuisine, the proceeds from which went to the Dog’s Trust.

These events reflect one of today’s most popular trends, where owners are spending thousands of pounds spoiling and indulging their most-loved pets. But what do diners in Southampton think about the prospect of eating across from a Dalmation sipping on a Long Island Ice Tea?

How do you feel about dining alongside dogs? Tweet your opinions @FongtasticFood

FONGTASTIC Black Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut Cream

Mango Rice

Helene Ng mixed things up by making this traditional Thai dessert, black sticky rice with mango and coconut cream.

If you cooked something you’re particularly proud of, please e-mail it to fongtasticfood@gmail.com

Healthy Pizza

Everyone seems to have this odd perception that pizzas are one of the most fattening, unhealthy meals you could possibly ever eat. If you order one from a late night takeaway, this may well be the case, but there are a few simple tricks that you can put in place to make sure that your own homemade pizzas don’t add inches to the waist:

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep: 30 minutes
  • Cook: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250ml luke warm water
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • handful chopped ham
  • handful spinach
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful sweetcorn
  • handful cheddar, grated

Method:

  1. Put the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and mix together. Stir in olive oil and water to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and knead for approximately 5 minutes. Leave to rest in a warm place for roughly 1 hour.
  3. Once the dough has risen, roll it out to a 30cm circle and bake in the oven (220°C, 200°C fan, Gas 7) for 5 minutes to crisp off.
  4. Remove from the oven and spread over the tomato purée. Top with as many ingredients as you like but remember not to go overboard with the cheese! Bake for another 10 minutes.

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No Way

Pizza93% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month.

Additionally, 36% of all pizzas contain pepperoni, making it the most popular topping in the United States.

If you know of any other interesting food facts, please tweet them @FongtasticFood

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Jeff Garlin

Fun-sized Snickers? Who’s this fun for? Not me. I need six or seven of these babies in a row to start having fun.

Jeff GarlinAmerican Stand-Up Comedian, Actor, Producer, Director and Author.

Snickers

Kachina

A platter of both vegetable and prawn spring rolls, sweet and sour pork, sesame prawn toast, sticky spare ribs, chicken satay, chicken wings, and seaweed with pork floss.

A platter of vegetable and prawn spring rolls, sweet and sour pork, sesame prawn toast, sticky spare ribs, chicken satay, chicken wings, and seaweed with pork floss.

I think it’s important to remind everyone that because I’m from Hong Kong, I’m especially critical when it comes to eating Chinese food in the UK. Most of the time, it doesn’t even remotely resemble any of the food that I’ve ever come across whilst living in Southeast Asia and can often be far too greasy because so much of it is deep-fried (especially if you order a takeaway, the ultimate sin)!

Kachina Chinese Restaurant was exceptional but at the same time a little bit disappointing. We opted for the evening buffet menu which cost £14.99 per person. We did however manage to claim a voucher from their website that gave us a whopping £10 off the total bill!

Although it was buffet, we were only allowed to order as many starters as we liked and then choose one main meal each (hence the greediness disappointment). The spring rolls were lovely and crunchy and so was the sweet and sour pork, but the chicken satay and wings were extremely dry and ended up having to be left.

The spare ribs on the other hand had mixed reviews. I personally found them to have a weird (not horrible, but weird all the same) taste but my partner in crime thought they were “tasty little morsels”. Now don’t even get me started on this sesame prawn toast debacle. Never in my entire life have I ever seen prawn sesame toast in either Hong Kong or China (I’m totally ready and willing to be corrected though) but it can be found in every single Chinese restaurant in the whole of the UK! It doesn’t even taste very nice!!! Nor has seaweed ever been served in a restaurant but oh well… I do love a good bit of algae. Ha.

In conclusion, I don’t think I’ll ever be completely satisfied with Chinese food in England. So I guess I better get used to having to cook it myself… watch this space!

The Verdict:

  • Food: 6.5/10
  • Service: 6.5/10
  • Atmosphere: 6.5/10
  • Value: 7.5/10 (but only because of the voucher)
  • Overall: 6.75/10

Have you ever eaten at Kachina? Tweet us your experience @FongtasticFood

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

As you can probably tell, I’m big into puddings at the moment and the only way I can justify eating this much pudding is by making it myself. There aren’t that many healthy desserts out there but I decided that a Lemon Meringue Pie had to be one of the kindest to the waist. This BBC Good Food recipe turned out a superb looking pie that impressed everyone with it’s perfectly bronzed and spiky meringue topping.

Unfortunately, the taste test ended up being a little bit of a flop. The filling was ruined by an orange that had somehow managed to squeeze its way into the recipe. Instead of tasting like a lemon meringue pie, the orange overpowered the flavour of the lemon and transformed it into an unwanted orange meringue pie. It’s such a shame because this pie could have easily been able to match up to its stellar appearance and scrumptious meringue if only it didn’t include one of its key ingredients; the orange. Although I may have a sad face on this time round, at least I can sleep well tonight knowing exactly how to make my next lemon meringue pie the best it can possibly be.