I AVOID the MetroCentre at the weekend like the plague.
Its crowds, problem parking and queues are enough to put me off my favourite pastime of shopping.
But, as a bridesmaid, it was my duty to gather on Saturday with my fellow maids plus bride, and Echo chum, Cara, to find a dress that all three of us would like.
This is no mean feat and after a few hours of shoe-horning ourselves into matching dresses, it was time for a pit-stop.
Zizzi proved to be a little haven from the hustle and bustle of the marauding MetroCentre masses.
I’ve visited the branch in Newcastle before, but this one’s got a charm of its own.
The place has a chic bistro feel with artwork on the walls and philosophy quotes on the napkins, but the real talking point is the menu.
We spent ages deciding, but Zizzi’s got a laid back feel which doesn’t leave you feeling pressurised to make a choice.
The waiters were charming too, especially with Cara’s son Tate and they kept him entertained while we came to our decisions.
I went with the tricolore salad – buffalo mozzarella, plum tomatoes, avocado, rocket, grana padano cheese and dough sticks.
For £9.45 I felt there should have been a larger helping, but it was still delicious and was ever so prettily presented.
Cara and Adelle chose more wisely from the substantial pizza section of the menu.
The Rustica section is definitely worth mulling over. It offers whopping pizzas with bigger, thinner and crispier bases which means there’s way more room for toppings than normal.
The bride-to-be chose the Mare e Monti option, which translates as the food of coast and mountains.
For her £11.70, she got a huge portion of one half tiger prawn, courgette and mozzarella and the other half spicy sausage, tomato sauce and chilli finished off with rocket and creme fraiche.
It was divine. And I was jealous, so I’ll definitely be going back for one of my own.
Adelle, meanwhile, enjoyed a stromboli calzone pizza of buffalo mozzarella, rocket, sunblush tomatoes and coppa salami.
It’s not the cheapest of pizzas at £10.95, but the presentation and taste were spot on.
With drinks, our bill was £40. Not the cheapest lunch options in the mall, but certainly one of the more impressive.