The newest addition to the Zazaza family (the second brain-child of the original burger entrepreneur and creator of the Works, Ion Aimers) officially opened this past Monday at 1079 Wellington - right across from another neighbourhood pizzeria, Tennessy Willems. Controversial, yes?
But Mr. Aimers put to bed any competitive rumours in an Ottawa Citizen blog post earlier this year:
Fabulously said. Let's move on then.
I was privileged enough to go to a soft-open over the weekend. In true Aimers-style, there was a charitable segment to the evening: every couple that came in was given a free pizza to share as well as homemade lemonade and ice tea on the house in exchange for a donation to the Parkdale food centre. Although they were not taking reservations during the trial-run over the weekend, I would strongly suggest making one when visiting the Za in the near future. Hintonburgians are definitely excited about coming to eat here.
The theme of the restaurant is very relaxed-formal. There is damask wall-papering, very theatrical decor, and linen napkins rather than paper. The staff uniforms are the first place you'll notice the charming clash of styles: long black aprons, white dress shirts, and ties, which is an attire typically found in more upscale (read: pricey) restaurants but they are tapered off nicely with jeans and converse-style shoes.
The menu, referred to as the "playbill", and organized alphabetically, is also very dramatic with different sized fonts, and clever names. Start by choosing your crust: regular white is dusted cornmeal, whole wheat is honey oat, and a gluten free crust made with chick pea flour. There are more "regular" pizzas like the Italian Too with pesto oil, parmesan, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, tomatoes, fresh basil, and bocconcini - and there are the out-there-combinations like the Scary Roomate, boasting kraft dinner and hot dogs among other cheeses and tomato sauce.
We started off with wine, I ADORE that it comes in a stemless wine glass - part of the more causal-class feel.
We ordered the two appetizers to start: Goodness Gracious Goat Balls of Fire and Sweet Potato Cross Cuts. The Works is the first place I ever tried sweet potato fries, it seemed only reasonable to try the spin-off. Both appys come served in an adorable little shoe.
|oh. my. gawd. these little goat cheese-y balls of glorious goodness are AMAZING. can be messy though so have a side plate and napkin at the ready.|
We decided to split the California Caprese: pesto sauce, sliced tomato, bocconcini, fresh basil, avocado, and a balsamic drizzle on the honey oat crust.
Although we were entirely stuffed, we were easily persuaded to consider dessert pizza:
The Crispy Punch: peanut butter sauce, milk chocolate chips, crispy crunch chunks, dark chocolate chips, and whipped cream
I'm a Good Girlfriend: Nutella sauce, berries, braised marshmallows, and icing sugar dust.
Crispy Crunch would have been my choice, but unfortunately (more like fortunately) they weren't yet making dessert pizzas. But I will SO be back for that pizza.