Zizzi Restaurant in Basingstoke

Posted on July 12, 2012

I was lucky enough to get taken to lunch in Basingstoke today with a friend/business associate who is doing some web work for one of  my clients, a treat that is quite rare when you work independently. We both had quite a busy afternoon so it was a quick lunch, we went to Zizzi, an Italian restaurant at what is known by locals as “the top of town” area of Basingstoke that is reasonably pleasant in comparison to Festival Place and its obligatory list of chain stores such as Next, Gap, BHS and Debenhams.

Zizzi is based in what used to be a rather good pub called The George, or to use a local phrase once again, ‘The Hole in the Wall’ and today was the first time I have been there since The George closed at a random guess, ten years ago. The first thing I noticed in Zizzi was that it was cold, the air fans pumping away despite the back door being open to the all to common summer 2012 sight of grey clouds and steady rain. Maybe it is just me getting old, but I couldn’t help feeling that it wouldn’t take much to turn the fans off and shut the doors.

Zizzi in Basingstoke

The general look of the place is quite cool, with lines of life like looking trees and tasteful furniture and  menu’s that are pretty much easy to follow, though I must say, it wasn’t what Pizza Express hadn’t done before….though I guess there is only so far you can go with Italian food. I ordered,  and I quote : Chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto ham with a white wine sauce served with chunky potatoes and green beans. I am not sure what Craig had, but it looked like a big and tasty pizza, which gave me a minor dose of “I wish I had ordered that” syndrome.

Still, what I had was perfectly edible, even though the potatoes outweighed the amount of chicken I had, and to be honest, I was just grateful for being taken to lunch for the first time in ages. All in all the quality of service was good, the food was fine and the ambiance was okay, apart from the distinct chill in the air. Then the bill arrived……..£37.50 for a light lunch! On closer inspection, it became apparent that a bottle of Peroni lager was £6.10, Jesus, that is extortion personified, is Zizzi ran by the Mafia? It was noticeable that the restaurant was quite quiet and at those prices it is understandable to see why and I began to feel quite guilty that Craig was having to pay for this, I feel even more guilty now, because I was too stingy to chip in.

Maybe it was the cold air, maybe it was just because we were eating in what used to be one of my favourite town centre pubs, but something about the experience made me think that Zizzi was not what I would regard a value for money experience, even though it was not my money. If you are considering an evening out at Zizzi you will be treated by decent service, decent food and standard Peroni beer, but you will leave with a wallet that has been damaged beyond the realms of the quality of food that is on offer. There is also one other thing  that is vital for you to remember.

Take a jumper.

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