In January when the money’s tight, we’re always searching for great offers that mean that we can still go out, but on a budget. Lots of Bristol’s independents and chains alike have been advertising numerous January deals to bring the punters in, but this January we went for a different option: we redeemed Tesco ClubCard vouchers.
In Bristol there’s only a limited number of chains that work with Tesco in accepting ClubCard vouchers, and Prezzo is one of these chains. With a branch on Anchor Square – within easy walking distance on a cold January evening – and with £10 of ClubCard vouchers equating to £40 of Prezzo vouchers, it was a no-brainer.
The Anchor Square branch of Prezzo – formerly the Firehouse Rotisserie – is a long and narrow building with the entrance and bar at one end, the dining area at the other. Exposed brickwork surrounds the large windows while wood paneling decorates the opposite wall, with a huge mirror at the far end that makes the restaurant look even bigger.
By the window, booth-style tables with cosy-looking sofas. Elsewhere, standard wooden tables with comfortable high-backed chairs, with many tables afforded a view of the open plan kitchen.
After ordering a glass of rose for me and a pint of Peroni for Chris from the drinks menu, we were ready to peruse Prezzo’s food offering.
As you’d expect, the food menu is predominantly focused on pizzas and pasta dishes, alongside a selection of starters and sharing options and a small range of meat and fish dishes. However, don’t expect your “standard” Italian fare – there are plenty of pizza and pasta options that deviate from the norm while still using Italian flavours. We were also impressed by the look of the January specials, and chose a couple of these on the night…
To start, we ordered Prezzo’s flatbread sharing starter (£6.95), which included four different topped flatbreads to share, along with a small mound of rocket and sunblushed tomatoes. The presentation was fantastic, but we were a little surprised that – as a sharing starter – each of the four breads needed to be sliced down the middle to be divided up. A minor point. The garlic bread topped with mozzarella and balsamic onions was a little sweet for me, but the ‘nduja and mozzarella was nice and fiery, the tomato and pesto was tasty but a little oily, and the fennel-infused pork was probably our favourite. The dough was well baked too, with a lovely fluffy texture.
For my main, a dish of Fusilli Gorgonzola (£9.95): a heaped bowl of perfectly al dente fusilli pasta with the tiniest pieces of pancetta, fork-tender shredded chicken, broccoli and a creamy gorgonzola sauce. It was ok, I’d just have preferred more sauce, and the pieces of broccoli were surprisingly huge for the dish…
Chris’ main came from the seasonal specials menu: a heaped dish of ‘Nduja Al Forno (£10.95 which combined the spicy spreadable Calabrian sausage with plenty of peppers, red onion, mozzarella and chilli flakes in a pomodoro sauce. He was pretty happy with the dish, but complained that the tomato sauce was quite watery, leaving puddles at the bottom of the plate.
Being addicted to all things truffle-related (truffled fried eggs are common at home on the rare occasions when we enjoy a fry up…) we also ordered a side of Prezzo’s truffle oil-infused fries (£3.60), topped with grana padano cheese and parsley. They use parsley everywhere in this place – it came as a garnish for both of our mains too. The truffle oil smelt amazingly intense when the dish was set down at our table, but the fries were underseasoned and the flavour not as evident as we’d have hoped.
There’s no denying that the starter was the highlight of the meal, with the pasta dishes fairly average. I’ve tried the pizza at Prezzo before, and much preferred that – and with the quality of the dough base that we enjoyed with our starter, it’s easy to see why. Without the ClubCard vouchers, I’m not convinced that Prezzo would be our first choice for pizza or pasta – but with them, it’s a great way to enjoy an affordable meal out when money is tight.