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

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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

Trago Lounge

(L-R) Falafels with red onion and coriander yoghurt dip, hummus with extra virgin olive oil and smoked paprika, crayfish and prawns with tomato and chilli, honey glaze shredded 5 spice pork, roasted sweet potato and butternut squash with goats' cheese.

(L-R) Falafels with red onion and coriander yoghurt dip, hummus with extra virgin olive oil and smoked paprika, crayfish and prawns with tomato and chilli, garlic and parsley mushrooms with smoked paprika, honey glazed shredded 5 spice pork, roasted sweet potato and butternut squash with goats’ cheese.

Trago Lounge is just one part of a large chain of cafés/bars called ‘The Lounges‘. It is the ideal place for an impromptu, upmarket meal, without having to go through all of the fuss of making a reservation, having someone constantly waiting on you and then worrying about who’s turn it is to pay the bill.

The restaurant reminds me of a smart, but friendly, gastropub with its classic leather and solid wood furniture. Just enough character has been splashed across the room to make it interesting and individual, I especially like the vintage wall hangings and large blackboard-style menus.

Opting for their signature tapas (a choice of 3 for for just £7.95), I hesitantly waited for it to arrive at my table after I was left incredibly disappointed when I first tried it on a trip to Seville, Spain, last year.

Fortunately, the UK’s take on the traditional Spanish cuisine seemed to do the trick. The six mini dishes arrived at the table looking vibrant as ever and were served with a nice helping of ciabatta bread.

On to the critique. I definitely enjoyed the hummus, pork, and mushrooms but I wasn’t too keen on the falafel or the crayfish (I’m undecided as to whether or not I liked the roasted veg because I think it could’ve done with a little bit longer in the oven!). The shredded pork was my favourite, it was beautifully tender and melted in the mouth, and you can never go wrong with garlic mushrooms. The tomato and chilli sadly overpowered the seafood and you couldn’t taste the subtle flavours of the crayfish at all and the falafel is just plain difficult to perfect so I’m sure I can find it in my heart to forgive them for that minor dry blunder.

All in all though, I honestly think the Lounge has one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat in, and the food was delicious considering how affordable it was. I will definitely be making another visit sometime soon and you should too!

The Verdict:

  • Food: 7/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Atmosphere: 10/10
  • Value: 8.5/10
  • Overall: 8.1/10

Did you enjoy your last visit to one of the Lounges? Tweet your feedback @TheLoungers

Carrot and Coriander Soup

BBC Good FoodFollowing on from Jay Leno‘s quote about soup not being considered a real meal, I decided I had to put it to the test by following this BBC Good Food recipe for a very traditional Carrot and Coriander Soup.

As the recipe only really contains the most basic of ingredients, (a few carrots, a potato, and an onion), you would expect the soup to end up being really bland and boring but this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Carrot and Coriander Soup

The soup was jam-packed with flavour and it was actually quite filling! I’m not going to lie though, I had to have some garlic bread with it, because like Jay Leno, I’m not a big believer in having just soup for dinner. For a second though, I might have been convinced…

The soup was absolutely delicious but I still think I would have preferred it as a starter before sitting down to a nice full plate of steak and chips. Or something like that.

I promise I’ll keep trying though, watch this space for Butternut Squash Soup, Pea and Mint Soup, Tomato Soup, and many, many more.

PS: If you don’t have a nice big fresh crusty loaf on hand to soak up the goodness, you should try this last-minute tip on how to make your own garlic bread:

If you know of any other wholesome soups that might tempt me away from “real” dinners, please tweet them @FongtasticFood