Zaza’s Hertfordshire – A little bit of Italy, in Bushey!

After deciding to have dinner with my family to celebrate the completion of my Counselling Course the difficult choice was where to dine?

We decided to pick Zaza’s (a small chain of italian style restaurants in the Hertfordshire area) If are looking to go her, the key is book early as tables book up fast, and on a weekend often a few weeks in advance!

I Say:

The restaurant is located close to Watford in the Bushey Heath area. It is a small neutral cozy place with very efficient staff!

On a Saturday looking around it does have a youthful feel to it and a heated outside area too, but due to the location being away from town it draws an older crown.

The tables themselves are situated a good space apart so you don’t feel like sardines in a tin, and it would be a nice place to meet up for a girlie dinner and drinks, the tables however were quite small, we had a table for 4 which was pretty cramped after all the plates water and wine!

They Say:

Welcome to the home of authentic Italian food. Zaza is a relaxed Italian restaurant who’s appeal radiates from its cooked fresh to order philosophy paired with its natural warmth and effortless Italian charm.

With its contemporary interior matched with delicious food and wine derived from all across Italy’s twenty regions Zaza is the best destination for any occasion. Dining is relaxed with generous portions of freshly made pasta with imaginative sauces; stone oven-baked pizza, grills and a variety of vegetarian dishes. Our specials emphasize fresh fish, which is delivered daily.

If we can make something ourselves, we do ranging from breads, soups, sauces, pastas, and of course our very own pizza dough made to a specific secret Italian recipe. The rest of our products are carefully sourced from Italy such as proper buffalo mozzarella our premium imported Italian soft scoop ice cream which has no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. Zaza is the perfect destination for the discerning diner, offering a busy but attentive service, animated atmosphere and tempting menu.

I Say about the food:

Starters:

Insalata Mozzarella e Pomodoro – Fresh buffalo mozzarella, vine ripened tomato & rocket salad with basil infused virgin olive oil 6.50 A small plate of lovely quality tomatoes and some home-made pesto, served with a pinch of rocket and 4 balls of mozzarella. For the price? not great, not really that impressed although the mozzarella quality was good, and the homemade pesto was lovely. A nice starter but not at the price.

 Funghi Fritti – Deep fried mushrooms in seasoned breadcrumbs with garlic mayonnaise 5.90 Lovely quality sauce, with just the right amount of garlic, however the mushrooms were too greasy and cooked for too long.

Mains:

Risotto al Gorgonzola – Gorgonzola risotto with fresh broccoli roasted garlic & a touch of fresh chilli 10.90 Now this was stunning, a good-sized amount of risotto, beautifully served, with crisp crunchy fresh flavourful broccoli. The chilli gave it a lovely kick which wasn’t too overpowering and the cheese flavour was just right, and beautiful dish!

 Pollo Piccante – Chargrilled chicken with roasted red peppers, onion & fresh chillies in a rosemary, red wine & tomato sauce, served with a choice of herb mash, french fries or sautéed potatoes 12.90 – The chicken was juicy and flavourful and tender, it also had a nice amount of spice to it. The fries however were terrible, just an afterthought, the only thing was they were served in a cute little bucket. There were also no vegetable served with this dish, which left it somewhat lacking.

Campagnola – Goat’s cheese, caramelised onion, roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes with balsamic drizzle 9.90 The potential was all here with this dish, however it came up slightly short I’m sorry to say. I’m a huge goats cheese fan so was very much looking forward to this. The pizza base was just too thick which meant a lot of the flavour was missed due to the thick base. The sauce was lovely and homemade and the caramelised onions were stunning with the goats cheese, but sadly not enough to redeem the dish.

 Dessert:

Torta al limone – Lemon patisserie cream filled short crust pastry finished with toasted pinenuts, served with honey & limoncello mascarpone cream 5.15 – This was lovely and light after the dinner, and was served beautifully. Although good there was nothing outstanding about it, but a very good solid dessert.

Profiteroles – Patisserie cream filled choux pastry smothered with a warm dark chocolate sauce, with vanilla ice cream 5.25 – These were disappointing. They seemed somewhat generic, in presentation and taste. I highly doubt these were handmade.

Cheesecake del giorno – Luxury baked cheesecake served with vanilla ice cream 5.20 – We had the special version which was with strawberries. This didn’t fail to impress. The presentation was lovely, the texture lovely and creamy but not too heavy and with the strawberries? divine. A lovely lovely finish to the meal.

All in all a lovely but not outstanding evening. The risotto and the Strawberry cheesecake were definite winners in the food front however the rest of the dishes were somewhat sadly lacking. For me Zaza’s either needs to lower their prices slightly or raise the standard for the food, for them to be charging the dishes at the current prices. The staff however were faultless, friendly, happy to help and very quick service.

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