After my less than positive review of Prezzo last week, I wanted to show that it is possible to get decent quality vegan food from a chain restaurant. My family came to visit Oxford at the weekend on a beautifully sunny day, and I booked a table for lunch at Zizzi on George Street. My boyfriend and mum both eat meat, my brother is vegetarian, and my sister and I are vegans, and Zizzi is one place that we’ve found that has loads of choice and everyone is happy with their meal every time we go. I had suggested a couple of different places prior to my family’s visit, but my sister was really keen to go to Zizzi as she is in love with their vegan lentil ragu.
One of the great things about going to Zizzi is how easy it is, you don’t have to feel remotely awkward when asking for their vegan menu as they’re working hard to promote it and are regularly changing/adding things to the menu. To start, we all ordered one vegan garlic bread, which came with at least a whole head of garlic to the happiness of my sister, and another with cheese. They were a very generous size so two were easily shared by the five of us, and everyone equally enjoyed the vegan one. When our mains came, our very enthusiastic waiter offered the non-vegans cheese, adding ‘and it’s vegetarian parmesan’ which was thoughtful and shows again how they are aware of their customers’ different needs.
I ordered the vegan classic pizza, which comes with Mozzarisella and ample choice of toppings – I went for mushrooms, spinach, and artichokes, which until very recently I’d never tried, and have now discovered a love for (if you haven’t tried them either I urge you to go for it, they’re great). I just love Zizzi’s pizza. Although the vegan mozzarella is a bit less stringy and doesn’t quite taste the same as dairy cheese, it’s just as delicious in my opinion (and more so if you consider the fact that no living creature was mistreated in order to produce it). My sister, Lucy, ordered her favourite dairy-free ragu. It wasn’t as mind-blowing this time as she remembered it, but I couldn’t tell you if that was down to the individual chef or how she’d remembered the dish, but she still said it was very enjoyable. It definitely looked tasty so I might have a go at recreating it at home. I’m inspired to make some homemade pizzas this week too, especially with the huge new range of cheeses that Tesco has just brought out which are begging to be tried.
Lucy had also been desperate to try their new vegan dessert since they announced it recently, a sticky chocolate and praline torte. Shortly after she’d ordered, a waiter came over to say unfortunately they’d just run out of the chocolate and coconut ripple ice cream it was supposed to be served with, so offered strawberry sorbet instead, which was fine. I had half expected him to tell us that the torte had sold out, because I’ve seen that happening quite often to people on vegan Facebook groups when they’ve visited; obviously the demand for this vegan menu is even higher than Zizzi anticipated, which is great. The portion size was generous and the torte was very rich, so Lucy had a little help from Jamie to finish it off. I think she was happy she finally got to try it and it didn’t disappoint!
Zizzi always have discount codes you can download from their website, and they also offer a student discount with NUS – 25% on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, and 30% on Mondays and Tuesdays, which makes it really amazing value. Our whole bill came to under £60 for two starters, five mains, and a dessert. The service was great and it was just a really nice eating experience. If you want a safe bet for decent quality food, or you have a party with a mixture of dietary requirements, I think Zizzi is a pretty good choice.