Zizzi's in Beckenham has a lot of things going in its favour, perhaps the most obvious being the grand position it holds right at the centre of the high st. The atmosphere and surroundings are very welcoming and it certainly feels more refined than your average pizza chain. Another aspect that greatly adds to the ambience, is the vast open plan kitchen that runs half the length of the restaurant so you can see your pizza being prepared.
In terms of value, Zizzi's is pretty much in the average range for the sytle of food its offering, with prices being almost identical to Pizza Express and Ask (not surprising considering they are all owned by the same parent company). Tip – check the intenet for vouchers before you go, 9 times ot of 10 you'll be able to print off a ‘deal’.
But how about the food? Well we ordered a mix of starters, with the 2 favourites being the cheese & caramalised onion garlic bread, and the tomato & pesto bread. Both simple fare, but deliciously tasty too. The Olives were less pleasing, with far too much chilli and little in the way taste. Side salads were fresh and more appetising than the simple offering you tend to get in Pizza Express. The anti-pasti meat selection board was poor for £10, and perhaps we should have known better and stuck to the popular basics.
However, any Pizza chain will live or die by its Pizza, and I think Zizzi's will simply limp along after tasting theirs. We ordered 3 of the larger Rustica style pizzas, which are thinner and larger than the normal round ones (and a strange oblong shape). They are served on wooden boards, which looks appealing (but makes the pizza cold before it even reaches the table!), however we ordered 3 different types and not a single one was enjoyable to eat.
All 3 pizzas tasted cold and bland beyond belief. The Diavalo (hot chilli and pepperoni) had no heat in its dried up chillis, and the pepperoni was close to tasteless. This is a direct competitor to the Pizza Express American Hot and lets just say that Pizza Express can sit comortably without worry if this is the norm.
Our second pizza was a simple Quattro Formagi, perhaps the best of the bunch, but still lacking taste and dry. And our final pizza was a parma ham & rocket creation which just didn't work in our opinion. Ive been fortunate to have this style of pizza in Italy and had high expectations, but this creation just didn't come close, and again it was bland and taseless.
We skipped desert as the disappointing pizzas had been enough. The bill came to £75 for 6 of us. In summary, nice enough, and good starters, but I wouldn't visit often as the pizzas are simply not up to scratch. I suggest you try Pizza Express 50m down the road if its a pizza fix you're after,