Starters £4.65 - £9.00 | Pasta £14.95 - £17.45
Pizza £14.00 - £17.45 | Mains £14.45 - £17.45
Desserts £6.75 - £8.00
Cooking 6.5/10 | Service 4.5/5
Flavour 4/5 | Value 2/5
Breathtaking. Jawdroppingly awesome. Adjectives which I am happy to apply to this lunch; however, before TowerBrook Capital Partners, current owners of Zizzi, start to revamp their promotional material, I suggest they read on.
An unexpected pleasure. Grandson and his ma and pa, R & T, had time for a pitstop prior to flying off home. A pizza shaped pitstop, we decided, in the city centre. The once reliable Pizza Express is now disappointing. I'd enjoyed Zizzi pizza in the past, so Zizzi it was. Situated on Queensferry Street, just yards away from Princes Street, it's a very attractive space. You know that it's a chain (132 branches or so), but the welcome couldn't have been warmer. High marks to Oisin, who looked after us very well.
Prompt drinks order, immediate arrival of drawing materials for the young 'un. Terrific start. Nice kids menu, allowing some choice and recognising that not all young diners are culinary plebs. The main menu is the sort of thing you'd expect in an Italian style place, with some sharing boards, a reasonable selection of mains, pastas (including some fresh pasta dishes) and, of course, pizza. Look at the menu online, and you'll see both classic pizza and rustica pizza. On our menu, no sign of the classics.
Rustica pizza? It's kind of our signature. One day we thought, "what if we stretched the dough a bit further?" Why? Bigger base, crispier texture and, best of all, more toppings. So three of us went rustic. And, as I remembered, they were very good. You can have a basic Margarita if you like. You can go spicy with 'nduja, or fire your taste buds with chicken and roquito pepper. Chilli oil is available for those who like it hot. While R was going for the burn, T, like many eastern Europeans, is less keen. He was very happy with his combination of truffle salami, mushroom and proper buffalo mozzarella.
I tried a new combination called Half & Half Sticky Pig. No sniggering at the back, please. It had some pulled pork and some 'nduja and some cheeses and some roquito honey. So they live up to their boast of more toppings in terms of choice, but the crispy base wasn't groaning or overloaded. Quite right too, but I'd be surprised if the total cost of the ingredients exceeded two pounds. And the price for this rather delicious dish? £17.45. Yes, SEVENTEEN POUNDS FORTY FIVE PENCE. A Margarita will set you back fourteen quid. To put this in perspective, at Paesano in Glasgow which we reviewed in April, the most expensive pizza on offer will set you back £11.50. Breathtaking. Jawdroppingly awesome.
The non pizza eater had ravioli with goat's cheese. Quite decent, but so it should be at £15.25 (cf Sugo Pasta Glasgow - maximum price £12.90). I know it's Edinburgh International Visitors' Ripoff Festival time, but there is no indication that these prices are temporary. And yes, the rustic pizzas are longer than average, but they're shaped like a running track, not round. (And ours had less topping than the one illustrated.) Bizarrely, the wine prices were quite reasonable. A nice fruity Sicilian Nero d'Avola was £20. My scoring, sadly, doesn't take account of the drinks list.
The sad thing is that this should have been a really positive review. We all enjoyed what we ate. The four year old, who already knows his grub, was giving thumbs up signs to the pizzaioli and exchanging high fives with Oisin. As chains go, Zizzi is quite a good example - but with one breathtaking flaw.