“ Unit R09, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, PO6 4Tp. Tel: +44 23 92754704 „
Yesterday (29 November, 2009) myself and my partner decided to have our dinner at Zizzi restaurant, located in Portsmouth, Gunwharf Quays. After all day shopping for Christmas presents, we thought that would be a great idea, as we did not have time to cook and we were late for the cinema. Unfortunately it did not go well... As we sat at the table at Zizzi's, my partner noticed that his cutlery was dirty, so he asked the waitress to change for a clean one. After receiving our starter "Antipasto Zizzi", I have noticed that mozzarella cheese was not from the best quality, but I thought maybe its just me. Then my partner have received his Calzone Clarissa and I myself had Fettucine Alla Carbonara. The food did not taste as to its best quality, my pasta was half way through cold and too dry, not that creamy as it should be. After our dinner, we went straight to the cinema, and I started feeling really bad. I felt like I will vomit any minute. But eventually I was OK, until I came home after the movie. I went to bed and started feeling dizzy, sick, and had a headache too. So I have decided to take painkillers to easy the pain. Unfortunately my partner was not that lucky, since about 3 am he was constantly vomiting and having diarrhoea. He was feeling so ill and in constant pain - he was having serious stomach cramps. Obviously neither myself nor him had a good night sleep. We obviously knew the reason of feeling this way as that was the only food we had that day! After a terrible night, my partner stayed at home to recover and I myself went to work being really shattered after this incident. I was going home to look after my man and provide any pills and support he needed. Nonetheless, I contacted Zizzi restaurant's manager and obviously they took all the details of: the food we had; when and what time we were having our dinner and even my name and phone number. I was promised by the manager to be contacted and inform if they have found anything else, but to my surprise I have not received even an apology from the manager nor regret. I was completely blanked out. This was the most awful experience with Zizzi restaurant I gad. We used to like this restaurant for few reasons: such as not too many kids in this restaurant, food fresh and place looking clean. Unfortunately this no longer exist as you always will find lots of kids in there and obviously screaming and shouting all the time, the food is not that great as it used to be and staff are to slow to take your booking or bring water before your starter. I think everything has changed to a bad side because they have received new staff not long ago. Anyway, we would not recommend anyone to go to this restaurant unless you want to be food poisoned!!! Plus, I would also say same things about Zizzi restaurant in Port Solent, Hampshire - staff are very slow to take your bookings, the food would be brought out at the wrong time, e.g. my partner will receive his starter and main course all together at the same time and I would be waiting for my starter still; then my partner would finish his dessert, and my dessert would be forgotten and delivered after 3 times asking waitress to bring it to me. Bad service from all places I have been!!!
If you want to sit outside and have a meal right at the Waterfront in Gunwharf Quays, the choice is between Pizza Express, Zizzi, La Tasca and Tootsies. Zizzi would probably have been my first choice anyway, but the fact that I had a voucher whereby you paid for one main meal and got another for just £1 meant there was no contest. It was about 2pm on Sunday and, with the sun shining, the crowds were out. When we requested a table for three outside, we could see there was one empty but were asked to wait for about five minutes while things were organised. There was a small corner with chairs for those waiting, but it wasn't long before we were shown to our table. This actually consisted of two square tables pushed together, and the upright chairs were certainly comfortable. Some of the outside tables are shaded by a parasol, but ours was open to the welcome sunshine. Cutlery and paper serviettes were already laid, and there were salt and pepper pots at one end. A waitress immediately brought us our menus. She soon returned to take our drinks order. We each ordered fruit juice - either apple or orange are available at £2.25 a glass.
When it came to food, we ordered some mixed olives (£2.25) from the starter section to share between us. The main menu is divided into several sections: Pasta and Risotto, Pizza and Calzone, Carne e Pesce (Meat and Fish) and Insalate (Salads). I was tempted by both the grilled salmon fillet and the seafood risotto, but they were a little pricey so I eventually decided on Penne della Casa (£8.95) consisting of smoked pancetta, roasted chicken, creamy mushroom sauce and baby spinach finished with grated grana padano cheese and baked 'al forno' (in the oven). My son had had a Wagamama curry the day before and felt he should make a healthy choice, so he went for the Insalata Nicoise (£8.25) with yellowfin tuna, anchovies, hard boiled egg, olives, capers, potatoes, santos tomatoes and mixed leaves. His partner ordered a Trentino pizza (£9.50) whose toppings are smoked mountain ham, buffalo milk mozzarella, santos tomatoes, rocket and grana padano cheese. He asked for the rustico base which is larger, thinner, and crispier; it costs an extra £1.95 as there is room for more toppings.
Once we had placed our order, large bottles of olive oil and mayonnaise were brought to the table, each with a folded paper serviette around its neck to catch the drips. It was only about ten minutes before the waitress brought my Penne della Casa, but there was no immediate sign of anything else. I was urged to start eating so that my pasta didn't turn cold. We had actually expected the olives to be served before the main course, but this didn't happen. It was several minutes before the salad and pizza were served, with the olives coming last of all. The pizza was served on a board and looked huge to me, although the base was very thin, and the salad was also a very generous serving. We were all enjoying what we had ordered when, out of the blue, a passing waiter dropped a pound coin on the table and it bounced before landing slap bang in the middle of the pizza. I'm afraid I couldn't help laughing. The waiter was, of course, mortified, and asked my son's partner if he would like another pizza. Monetary coins are not the cleanest of objects, and the reply was a polite but affirmative one. This did, of course, entail a wait of perhaps another ten minutes, so my son and I tried to eat as slowly as we could. My son's partner nibbled away at the olives while he was waiting, and the replacement pizza eventually came. He managed to demolish it with no further mishaps.
I certainly enjoyed my pasta dish with its creamy sauce, roast chicken, whole spinach leaves and crisp grated cheese on the surface. Some pieces of the pancetta were a little chewy, but overall it was an excellent balance of flavours. All three of us were very satisfied with the quality of the food. We didn't honestly have room for dessert, but I noticed two ladies at the next table tucking into large portions of apple crumble with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. This is the most expensive dessert at £5.25; ice cream is the cheapest at £3.50.
The waitress offered us coffee on the house, presumably as a gesture to make up for the bouncing pound coin. None of us really wanted coffee, however, and we felt that the fact that the pizza had been replaced quite made up for the accident. Our bill came to a total of just over £30; without the voucher it would have been about £38. We added a ten per cent tip.
Full marks to Zizzi for their toilets, in which a hand basin and drier are provided in each cubicle. This should avoid any likelihood of germs on the door handle, provided of course that everyone does actually wash their hands.
While I was in the ladies, the waiter apparently came over and apologised profusely for the unfortunate landing of the pound coin in the pizza. He was perhaps grateful that there hadn't been any angry outbursts on our part. As we were leaving, he made a point of shaking my son's partner's hand, and they parted amicably. So I would say that the accident was very well dealt with and I wouldn't level any criticism at Zizzi.
As pizza restaurants go, I much prefer Zizzi to Strada and also Pizza Express. I did particularly enjoy both Ask in Bath and Prezzo in Chichester, but I would say that Zizzi is the best of the bunch in Portsmouth. I would happily go again.
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