It was an announcement that took us by surprise. High street chain Zizzi have recently updated their menu to include a vegan pizza, and we don’t mean serving the regular version sans cheese as many eateries do. We had to visit our local restaurant because of this, not least to check out whether this vegan cheese was any good. I’ll have to admit I’m not a huge fan of substitute cheese; I find the texture rubbery and it tastes synthetic. We’ve tried many varieties and types, with producers trying to mimic cheddar, mozzarella and even good old Philadelphia soft cheese.
Rather annoyingly the new vegan options aren’t on the standard menu at ZIzzi. Instead I had to request the allergen list which, as Mr. Canny pointed out, is not what veganism is. Anyhoo.. The main meal choices are still rather limited, with only one pizza and pasta option being shown.
Starters and sharers include mixed olives, Nocellara giganti olives, vegan bruschetta and even vegan garlic bread. Allegedly there are 14 suitable dishes on offer for vegan or lactose intolerant, which isn’t a bad tally.
He chose to try the pizza topped with artichokes and Zizzi’s lovely jammy caramelised balsamic onions. Regular mozzarella has been replaced with a version made with germinated brown rice milk for the vegans, which they’ve named Mozzarisella.
The Teen chose their ‘normal’ Margherita, which allowed us to compare Zizzi’s two offerings. I’ve always said that if I can find decent substitutes for dairy I will eat the plant based alternative instead, and with Mozzarisella Zizzi have come up trumps. The difference between them is barely detectable. In fact, because of the ethics of dairy production I might go as far as to say I preferred the vegan option, which I’m sure will be music to Mr. Canny’s ears!
I chose Ravioli di Capra for my main course, which was stuffed with pesto and goats cheese. Due to a certain little Madam deciding she was going to cry during the meal I wasn’t able to fully enjoy my food as by the time she settled it was cold. Such a shame as it looked appealing. I did feel their tomato sauce was on the watery side, however. My favourite main course from Zizzi is Strozzapretti Pesto Rosso, which is spicy chicken mixed with red pesto and marscarpone.
No review of the menu would be complete without trying out a pud, so Mr. Canny ordered the Vegan Nectarini – a nectarine cut in half, baked, and then filled with coconut and mango swirl gelato. In fact, their gelato is suitable for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant, so there are a few dessert choices thankfully. I decided upon the Banana and Chocolate stuffed Calzone, which is served with a caramel sauce. Delicious.
Canny Teen and I shared Fonduta Formaggi for starter, which is suitable for vegetarians. I was disappointed it was served with rolls of ciabatta instead of sticks or cubes of bread. It seemed a bit too rustic, although the hot cheese glop was tasty enough.
It’s important to point out the majority of wines on the list are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, which is something many restaurants overlook when formulating their offering.
The staff were initially attentive, but as the restaurant got busier we were waiting longer and longer for food and drinks. We were there for over two hours, which meant Dinky got very restless. As with the majority of chains there are baby change facilities, and I was able to feed her without any feeling of awkwardness. She still registered her unhappiness at being out so late on a Friday night (5:30pm, to be precise) which meant my dining experience wasn’t as pleasurable as it could have been.
Two courses with a glass of wine and our soft drinks came to £58. I’m not sure about whether this is good value for money when it appears those around us dining were using vouchers to pay for their meals. That said, £7.95 for a vegan pizza is not bad at all, especially because a decent substitute has been sourced by Zizzi to cater for those with this dietary requirement. Hopefully our favourite local pizzerias like Cal’s Own will start stocking alternatives too so Mr. Canny can have something other than a tomato pizza when we dine out. We’d return to Zizzi for this very reason, and next time I’ll search online beforehand for a discount code!
Thanks for reading,