If Zizzi in The Light were a movie, it would be a sure-fire hit, if not quite a blockbuster.
The film analogy is not completely gratuitous - we were looking for some pre-Cinema dinner before watching the Avengers sequel, and thought some Mediterranean nourishment would be the perfect preamble to our film night.
Zizzi is located on the first floor of The Light shopping centre.
It has a large dining area inside, with colourful, quirky decor inspired partly by the city’s textile and wool industry heritage.
We went for a late Sunday lunch/early dinner and found the restaurant almost full. A good sign.
We decided to sit outside on the balcony, where the handful of tables placed outside the restaurant allow you to dine at a height, overlooking the ground floor. But we didn’t announce ourselves, assuming - wrongly - that we would be spotted quickly.
After about ten minutes, a waiter did spot us.
The extensive menu is full of pizza and pasta classics, and a handful of imaginative additions such as Seabass Cartoccio and ‘spiedini’ skewers of fish or meat.
For our starter, we shared a small seafood platter, the Fritto Misto, with crispy king prawns, calamari and whitebait, all lightly battered and served with an aioli dip.
The prawns were absolutely delicious, crispy and light. The calamari was a little rubbery and the whitebait was not to my taste, However the sauce was beautifully made, thick and luscious,.
For my main, I opted for the ‘skinny’ version of the ‘Primavera’ vegetarian pizza. The ultra light, crispy wholemeal base was smothered in goats’ cheese, aubergine, artichoke, peppers, olives, mozzarella, green pesto and rocket. The strong flavours blended beautifully and the dish was fresh and fragrant.
My dining companion went for the Calzone Carne Piccante, a folded pizza filled with spicy chicken, mini beef meatballs, mushrooms, chilli, tomatoes and bolognese. There was a real kick to the filling, something my spice-loving companion adored. He said the meat mix worked surprisingly well, with the meatballs just falling apart (in a good way) and the chicken beautifully tender.
Zizzi does not have the most adventurous menu I have seen but it still offers more than mere by-the-numbers pizza and pasta. With very fresh ingredients and good service on the whole, this was the perfect date night treat. Our total bill was just under £35, which included two soft drinks each. However the eye-watering £13 we paid for parking at The Light during our four hour total visit was a bit of a dampener.