For date night last week, Alex and I decided we’d get festive and head out for our first Christmas meal. One of the main things about Christmas is the food right? (Obviously after family and friends – but it’s what we all do together!) So why not start the festive season as we mean to go on.
We’re quite lucky as we only live 10 minutes away from the O2 Centre on Finchley Road, which has plenty of restaurant options to choose from including Zizzi, Wagamama, Yo Sushi, Nando’s and one of our fave more casual places, Chop Pot. As we wanted to get the festive spirits flowing, we decided to head to Zizzi as they have a couple of set Christmas menus which looked particularly tasty.
We arrived at 7.30, both very hungry, and were soon seated, and looking through the menu. I had had a little look earlier in the day too, as Alex says I take ages to choose a meal no matter where I am – the fear of food envy and making a bad decision – so we actually chose reasonably quickly, and before long I had a glass of prosecco in hand.
We did our little cheers, both to a fab festive season and as Alex had made his first sale in his new job that day too – so proud. Another great reason to be celebrating.
Starters arrived – I had opted for the Black Angus Bresaola (Black Angus beef, air-dried in Northern Italy served with Fior di Latte mozzarella, watercress, smoked chilli jelly & our little soul breads) wanting to try the festive option, and Alex the Butterflied King Prawns (Pan-fried in garlic butter, smoky pepper pesto & white wine. Served with watercress & our ‘little soul’ breads), but we ended up sharing both – just too tempting not to…
The Black Angus Beef was absolutely delicious. Very thin, yet rich and flavoursome slices, the beef was served with a thick, thick mozzarella ball, an awesome (or as Alex described it ‘banging’) sweet and sticky chilli jam, and two soft, light and floury rolls. I think Alex and I both decided that the chilli jam made the dish what it was – a real taste experience – and the combination of flavours worked really well. It was pretty big so we didn’t manage to finish it all, wanting to save space for the other courses – if you want dessert too, this might be a good starter to share!
The prawns, juicy and plump, and still in the shells, came in a light, buttery and smoky sauce which complimented the prawns well. The dish came with the same rolls as the Bresaola, which Alex used to soak up the remaining sauce with, as it was really tasty!
Starters were cleared and mains were served a good interval of time after – I like a little wait to get over the starter, but not too long so this was perfect.
I had the Chianti Shoulder of Lamb (Slow-roasted with garlic & rosemary. Served with buttered mash, sautéed brussel sprouts & leeks, Chianti & rosemary sauce & cranberry shavings), whilst Alex the Festivo Rustica Pizza (Trealy farm venison & pork salami, butternut squash, sautéed brussel sprouts with smoked mozzarella, roasted garlic cloves, sunblush tomatoes, mascarpone, thyme & cranberry shavings) but with no sprouts – yes he’s one of those!
I made an excellent choice! The shoulder of lamb was extremely tender, pulling apart easily. It was rich in flavour, with a slight rosemary aroma coming through, and was super tasty! Alex had to try a bit too, and he agreed how good it was. The smooth creamy mash, of which there was plenty (not like some restaurants), and side of sautéed Brussels sprouts and leeks, which were perfectly wilted, made a great accompaniment to the lamb. Altogether a great dish!
The festive pizza looked fab. It was yummy too, with the flavours of the toppings working really well together. Alex loved how the mascarpone added an extra creaminess, and the butternut squash added something different to other pizzas he’d tried too. But I think the base could have been a little more flavoursome…perhaps it’s just because I can’t get sourdough out of my mind.
After we’d finished as much as we could manage, leaving the smallest of spaces to finish on something sweet – you can’t be too full for dessert when you’re having a Christmas meal! – we took a look at the cocktail menu, and chose our desserts.
I had overheard parts of a conversation the table next to us were having with the waitress, and thought the sticky toffee pudding had run out. So armed with an alternative, I braced myself for the worst news of the week (ok, that might be a little dramatic, but I seriously wanted the Christmas dessert)….but to my absolute delight they had plenty, and before long two Winter Spiced Sticky Toffee Puddings (Warm & gooey with dates, ginger & a layer of hot butterscotch sauce. With caramelised pecans, giant chocolate shavings & vanilla gelato) arrived at our table, along with the 2 cocktails we’d chosen, a White Christmas (Sweet, creamy & boozy. Our blend of Baileys & Tia Maria with giant chocolate shavings & a chocolate stripy straw to slurp) and a Ginberry Fizz (Handcrafted gin with Prosecco, elderflower & apple. With fresh blueberries, lemon & rosemary & a mini stripy candy cane!).
The white Christmas was creamy, yet thin, tasting predominantly of baileys with a hint of coffee liqueur. Served with a mini choclate straw and dark chocolate shavings, it was a fab cocktail to finish the meal on and Alex had soon drank it all.
My Ginberry fizz was delicious too. It was a little strong, and tasted very much of gin, with a hint of apple, berry and rosemary – the Rosemary sprig in the glass gave off a strong aroma every time you took a sip which was great. It was also super cute, with a little candy cane served on the side of the glass – loved it!
The sticky toffee puddings were incredible! Soft, moist and gooey, they were topped with dark chocolate shavings and crisp, crunchy caramelised pecans – they were absolutely heavenly, and not too rich. The ice cream had a strong vanilla flavour, and added a nice creaminess when eaten with the pudding – I think it might have even been better than having custard! Altogether the best dessert I’ve had in a long time!
We finished up and Alex ordered a Festive Tipple, which was spicy and fruity, yet so refreshing, to enjoy whilst I finished my Ginberry Fizz.
At £24.95 for the higher priced Christmas menu at Zizzi (3 courses and a glass of prosecco), we thought it was really well priced, especially when it all tasted so good! Cocktails were only £6.25 each too, which is great for in London, and they had some tasty looking options.
We had such a lovely evening out for dinner at Zizzi at the O2 Centre on Finchley Road. Delicious food and drink, friendly service and a great location.
The O2 Centre is a fab place to get your Christmas eats this December! There’s so much to choose from, so there’s bound to be options to suit all. We were tempted by the cinema after too – they have a really nice Vue upstairs.
Have you been for a Christmas meal yet?
*O2 Centre Finchley Road provided me with a meal for two to review. All views my own.