Prezzo describes itself as bringing “a touch of class to Italian casual dining.” So it surprised me that before I was contacted by Prezzo, I had never heard of them before. Shame on me. The grapevine reported Prezzo offered some pretty good eats, including ample pasta and pizza options, so very happily I sauntered over there one Tuesday evening for some Italian feasting.
Based on Anchor Square, a stone’s throw away from @Bristol, Prezzo is pretty much slap bang in the hub of Bristol which is very convenient for us 9 – 5 workers who reside nearby. The first restaurant in the Prezzo chain opened in November 2000 and since then, another 200 branches have popped up across the country.
One thing I love about Prezzo is the fact that they try to open their branches in older buildings with some form of architectural value. In the case of Bristol’s branch, they occupy a Victorian leadworks which is pretty impressive to behold when you walk in. Exposed brick walls line the back wall of the 156-seat restaurant with a partially open-kitchen visible from the quilted booths opposite. Industrial style lighting above gives the place a slightly quirky edge and the partitions made of thin wooden beams give you a little more privacy without blocking the neighbouring activity completely.
After being met at the entrance beside the bar, we were taken to a booth at the end of the dining area where we ordered an elderflower and gin cocktail (for me) and a beer (can’t remember which – a tall one) for my companion of the evening, Alex. Our Italian sharing platter followed shortly after and mate, that could have been a main course for me!
What does an Italian sharing platter include I hear you ask? Well, not necessarily what you’d expect. In fact, the platter seemed to have a little bit of everything from calamari to mozzarella in carrozza (pretty much deep fried Mozzarella triangles). There was also a large bowl of Italian hummus, I didn’t think hummus was Italian but hey, it tasted good. Could have done with a little more seasoning and texture though – I like it lumpy.
Once we’d polished off the platter we perused through the extensive menu once more to select our main course. I was craving pasta, I had been for days but with so many pastas to choose from it was pretty overwhelming! Does anyone else find ordering stressful – I am partial to the odd mini-meltdown. Then, I happened upon an great idea, at the bottom of the pasta section I noticed there was the option to choose two pastas which would be served in half portions. Now you can have all of the pastas – genius!
Alex stuck with traditional one dish option and chose the lobster and crab tortellini; it was a little too fishy for my liking but the saffron sauce was incredible and the hit of red chilli gave each mouthful a slight kick.
My pastas on the other hand were a more mixed bag. On the one hand, my super creamy Pappardelle Gorgonzola with seasoned chicken, pancetta, leeks, broccoli and parsley was divine. The fresh tagliatelle pasta worked perfectly with the white sauce and soft boiled leeks and there was a generous amount of chicken. Again, the chicken could have done with more seasoning, it tasted pretty plain without the sauce.
My spaghetti with king prawns, blended with spinach, chilli and red onion in a tomato and garlic sauce was not such a hit. The prawns were good, through there weren’t very many of them but the sauce was bland. It simply tasted like spaghetti in tomato sauce really. Good for someone with a simpler taste but I’m all about the flavours.
Once the mains were taken away, I was well and truly falling into a full-pelt food-coma. My words were slurred, my posture was slumped and all I wanted to do was kick Alex off our table and curl up on our super comfy booth seat. It is a hard life us food bloggers lead. But, I prevailed armed with my bottle of Italian mineral water (loved that it came with chilled glasses) and we proceeded to desserts. I couldn’t quite stomach a full-on pud, but I certainly had room for the gelato of the day, Chocolate and marmalade.
Alex, went for the smashed honeycomb cheesecake which was drizzled in dark chocolate sauce. Slightly warmed with a satisfying crunch from the honeycomb blended in with the cheesecake, Alex’s dessert left his sweet-tooth satisfied.
I’m not usually a big fan of chains given the number of amazing independents we have in Bristol but we had a truly lovely time at Prezzo. The staff were attentive and friendly without going overboard, the prices were reasonable and the food turnaround was pretty quick.
Cradling my food baby in my arms when we set off for home, Prezzo set our shortened week off to a wonderful start.
Anchor Square, Bristol BS1 5DB
Please note: Whilst our meals were complimentary, this in no way impacted upon the opinions given in this review.