To take the Tokyo dining scene for granted is indeed a privilege. Quality, price competiveness, levels of service and peripheral scenic attributes that others can only dream of are so usual that their absence would be the subject of incredulous outrage.
So it was with trepidation that I ventured back into the post-industrial gloom and steel-addled nostalgia of Sheffield’s admittedly recently more becoming attractions such as the Leopold Square development in which Zizzi, a faux-Italian restaurant cum bar, is situated just a short vomit and a casual beating away from the city’s main thoroughfare.
My dining partners and I, admittedly, arrived late into the afternoon, and no doubt the lunch staff were already weary and hoping for some down-time, which might explain the neglectful service – starting with the inability to accommodate a baby buggy and finishing with forgotten drink orders and difficulties serving our meals at the same time. It might also explain the dearth of customers.
Despite my worst fears – based upon memories of similar establishments in days gone by – and the claim that one should consider the experience akin to “Robert De Niro with a regional accent,” (Sean Bean?) the food was actually surprisingly good.
The boys went for pizza. Well-sized, decidedly large actually, and oh so authentically thin in the crust department. The Sophia provided a moist feast of spicy chicken, pepperoni and roasted sausage, mozzarella tomatoes and chili. The rosemary was an annoyance; I wanted basil. Yet when all was said and done this went down a treat, even if the over-priced Peroni, or what ever it was, left a bad taste. The Primavera – “a vegetarian feast” – was satisfying thanks to the goats cheese, artichokes and aubergine.
The ladies had salad, which looked fine, if a little boring.
Poor service, surprisingly decent portions and tasty pizza, made all the more enjoyable when combined with the smug satisfaction derived from the strong yen when visiting faded imperial powers (as apposed to the failed imperial power we usually enjoy).