Zizzi

Meal courtesy of Zizzi’s 

Written by Verna, published by Steph

If you live in the UK and you haven’t heard of Zizzi, then you should get outta here!

I must admit, I did not have a great last encounter. However, that was almost 4 years ago, and when I looked at their menu online I decided to put everything aside and trot along to the O2 Centre, in Finchley Road, London, for another attempt at trying to rekindle my relationship with Zizzi.

The menu had a fresh look, clear layout, with the summer menu catching my eye

What I wanted to try out at Zizzi were some of their “healthier” options. For I am a health fanatic and eating out sometimes bothers me with the unknown calorie content and undisclosed nutritional information. Though things are different at Zizzi, there were several options that were tailor to people like me, and they were under 600 calories. *GASP*

Hence, after managing to convince my friends of my idea to try the low calorie dishes, we decided to first treat ourselves to a platter of starters, with some cocktails of course.

 

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From the above, you can see how photogenic the Cicchetti Sharing Board is. There were various pieces of squid, mussels, chicken skewers, arancini balls, olives and bread with three dips. Our cocktails were also lovely, we ordered a coconut water (not featured), a Peach Melba Fizz and a Pink Gin & Tonic. I particularly liked the Pink G&T – it tasted refreshing and also ridiculously photogenic!

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We shortly moved to the mains with healthy dishes however, I was already pretty full from just the sharing board. There was a King Prawn Linguini, a Seabass Cartoccio and a summer special Pollo Fresca Salad.

Zizzi is doing an increasingly good job of making their food look presentable and appetizing. I loved how the seabass was served, in the parchment paper on a wooden chopping board. The rustic look was right up my streett!3

Taste wise, it was actually better than my expectations, since they were pretty low for the number of calories they served. I was secretly expecting bland tasting food, but actually everything was seasoned well, the fish was tender, prawns not overcooked, and the salad was also a hit with my friends, and we soon polished off the three dishes in no time.

On top of that, the service we received was adequate albeit a little slow. There were occasions where we had to make extra effort to attract a waiters’ attention. 

With fifteen different food offerings available at the O2 Centre, Finchley Road, you’re spoilt for choice! If you don’t fancy dining at the delicious Zizzi’s you can choose from restaurants such as, Wagamama, Byron Burger, Tortellini Cup or Yo Sushi!

Le Garrick

Le Garrick (1 of 22)

Meal courtesy of Le Garrick

Attended by me!

History and Background:

An iconic French restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden

My colleagues and I celebrated Bastille’s Day at Le Garrick, a restaurant that I’ve heard of through word of mouth but never had a chance to visit.

A very easy find, situated close to Covent Garden station and a comfortable 20 minute walk from work (Chancery Lane), we found ourselves greeted by friendly waiters upon our arrival. Coated with thick French accents and donning themselves with stripped t-shirts it was like as if we stepped inside Paris! Dim lit and candle light settings, a small establishment over two floors and they have an extensive menu catering for all types of french tastes.

Renowned for its wine cellar, be sure to taste some of Le Garrick’s french blends too.

We opted for the Bastille Day menu specifically.

The meal:

Le Garrick (5 of 22)
Coq Au Vin

Showcasing authenticity with one of the most classic french dishes for Bastille Day, Coq Au Vin. I’ve not had much French stew in my lifetime and admit that I’m not so much a fan of it, but for the occasion, what better dish to have than have it on Bastille Day!

The dish consists of chicken braised in wine and typically with potatos, garlic, herbs, onions and mushrooms. The fragrance of each ingredient can be felt here and though I thought chicken was slightly dry this is typical in nature, especially from a long brew.

Le Garrick (8 of 22)

Le Garrick (19 of 22)
Tarte Tartin

We ended up a sweet high, the Tarte Tartin demolished by all 3 of us, though maybe too much on the sweet end, the ice cream was a great accompaniment. Don’t let the visuals of this dish fool you, it makes a great end to the evening!

Tarte Tatin is an upside-down pastry in which the fruit are caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.

Price: ££

(A La Carte for 3 courses would be £££)

Square Meal

Vicino

Meal courtesy of Vicino

Attended and written by Ed @onehungryasian and published by me!

Vicino (3 of 11)

South West London already has a lot going for it. Ridiculous rent and property prices aside, you can’t deny that walking through the suburbs of Fulham and Parsons Green gives you some serious flat envy. And Vicino, a local Italian restaurant near Parsons Green, is one more you can add to the list of reasons to make a move to this area. It’s genuinely that good.

Favoured by celebrities including Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller, Vicino oozes Italian charm and atmosphere, helped in part by the friendly staff who have a tendency to hum and sing as they serve tables. A conservatory area at the front has windows that open up into the street, giving diners a chance to soak in the sun shine while they dine on great Italian fare.

The meal:

Vicino (4 of 11)Vicino (5 of 11)We joined them for a 10 course taster menu showcasing the variety of range of dishes they offer, and it tasted just as good as it sounded on reading the menu. Starters of char grilled vegetables and figs with goats cheese and parma ham were a simple way to whet the appetite, giving way to tuna tartare with avocado which was perfectly seasoned, with the avocado playing second fiddle to the fresh tuna and its fatty distinctive flavour.

We moved onto the pasta dishes which simply put, were some of the best pasta I’ve had in London. While I haven’t had the chance to go to some of the other well known pasta restaurants in London at the moment (Padella etc), the other diners at the table were fairly unanimous in their opinion that this definitely ranked up there with it.

Vicino (6 of 11)Vicino (1 of 11)Squid ink linguine with seafood was incredible, I couldn’t fault it at the time and I can’t now – and if you haven’t noticed, I can be bit of a critical guy. All the fish pieces were perfectly cooked, and the way the pasta intertwined with the lemon and chilli sauce? Wowza. Lobster with linguine and a white wine sauce was also a prime example of how Vicino treat their fish, with a generous sized lobster that we wolfed down between us.

Vicino (2 of 11)No end to the feast though, Vicino brought out a customer favourite of the truffle, mushroom and speck pasta dish, made with special thin egg pasta similar to almost noodles. I’m a big truffle lover, and I loved how Vicino had managed to balance the distinct flavour of the truffle with the mushroom and speck, while still keeping it light and moreish overall.

Vicino (9 of 11)Vicino (8 of 11)And finally, a char grilled sirloin steak, served up with marinated artichokes and parmesan shavings. Cooked medium rare just right, Vicino did a great job putting the flavour of the beef as the centre piece of the dish.

Vicino (11 of 11)

And for dessert, a trio of dishes with a classic tiramisu, chocolate profiteroles, and a white chocolate and passionfruit cheesecake. The tiramisu was probably the weaker of the 3 desserts,  with the fruity flavour of the passion fruit winning out overall. Chocolate lovers should go for the profiteroles though, as the dark chocolate sauce poured on top was decadent and deliciously indulgent.

Vicino (10 of 11)Service:

Hand on my heart I thought Vicino was genuinely fantastic. The other guests and I thought their dishes would be priced nearer to £15/18 for the quality of food we were getting, but in reality after checking their menu, many of the dishes we ate hover around the £11/£12 mark – incredible value for money given how much I loved the food! Throw in attentive and friendly service, a beautiful restaurant and setting, and you can’t go wrong.

Parsons Green watch out, because I’m coming to eat all your pasta!