My Twitter feed has been buzzing about the new vegan menu, recently introduced by the Zizzi restaurant group, so the Manchester branch in the refurbished Corn Exchange, has been on my to visit list since. Zizzi have recognised the massive increase in demand for vegan options, which appeals to dairy and lactose intolerant diners and for this, they have to be commended. Their competitors have really missed the boat.
The restaurant is cosy and welcoming, with nice lighting and exceptionally friendly front of house staff, headed up by Ben, who I think may have been the Manager.
The vegan menu has plenty of choice, with two kinds of olives, garlic bread, bruschetta, pasta, side dishes and of course Margherita pizza, which can be customised with extra toppings, in addition to the mozzarella alternative made by Mozzarisella. The cheese is made from germinated brown rice, so suitable for diners with gluten intolerance and as Zizzi also have a gluten free pizza base available, no diners are left out. There is a vegan dessert of nectarini filled with coconut and mango swirl, with optional caramelised pecans and vegan wines are clearly highlighted on the menu too.
With a name like VeganOlive1, olives are a must, so I ordered Nocellara olives to start, which were really tasty.
Main course was vegan Margherita with artichokes, spinach and green chillies, which was served clearly marked with a vegan sticker for clarity, which I really like and shows Zizzi's commitment and attention to detail.
The pizza was pretty perfect, the base was just the right thickness, well cooked and dusted with polenta underneath to stop the base going soggy. The tomato sauce and the toppings, not too much, not too little, were spot on, so much so, I devoured every morsel.
The cheese is not stringy like normal mozzarella, but I was won over, even though I am not a fan of vegan cheese alternatives, I thought it was excellent. Sadly I was too full for dessert, maybe next time!
I had a chat with Ben, who said that since introducing the vegan menu, there had been a noticeable increase in diners, particularly large groups, as the vegan menu encompassed so many dietary requirements. The Corn Exchange has three other Italian/pizza restaurants and if I wanted pizza, then Zizzi would definitely be my choice, purely based on their vegan menu.