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Prezzo, MediaCityUK, Review

Simon Binns is impressed by the latest offering on the Quays

Written by . Published on January 25th 2012.

Prezzo, MediaCityUK, Review

MEDIACITYUK has polarised opinion in the national press. Some love it, others are the Daily Mail, but on the ground, most people have only one concern.

In essence, Prezzo is a slightly more polished version of Pizza Express with possibly less cheese. Still it's the best place to eat in MediaCityUK. 

Where can you get something decent to eat?

Lunch options for the average BBC worker (and they make up the vast majority of people on MediaCity so far) are thus: sarnie from the Booths shop or cafe in the studio block, a selection of hot and cold (and pretty expensive) bits and bobs from the 5th floor canteen in Quay House (which only accepts cash) or a walk over the bridge to the borderline depressing Lowry Outlet Mall. 

Failing that, it's standardised noodles in Wagamama, uninspiring lumps of bread in Costa or BYO.

In terms of a pleasant setting for a post-work drink, you've got the Holiday Inn bar (not bad actually), or Lime Bar across the water. The BBC canteen is licensed too, although you don't want to have too much tipple in your office, do you?

It's all pretty much blah-blah to be honest, so the opening of Prezzo seemed to represent something of a step up in class.

The first thing to say about the London-based chain (and MeejahCity is starting to look very 'London' indeed - no bad thing) is that it looks sleek, modern and crisp.

The black and white branding, big mirrors and brown interior sets a tone that seemed to be palattable enough to Beeb middle managament as well as the odd family group. All were present the two or three times I've been in so far.

More people on site should mean more people in the restaurant, and a continual buzz that should see Prezzo become the hub of the site's leisure offerings and an unofficial office to creatives.

The first time I visited, with my family, I ordered a calzone piccante (£10.25). It was so large I could have scooped out the filling and slept inside it. It tasted good too.

The second visit, with Schofield, put me in touch with the crab and lobster tortelli (£11.25) - one of the finest pasta dishes I've sampled in quite some time, laced with fiery red chilli to add a layer of extra interest.

Tortelli of loveTortelli of love

There's an impressive array of pizzas, including Aldo Zilli's VIP range and a huge one to share between two people.

Schofield tackled a pollo gorgonzola (£12.25), chargrilled chicken breast with mushrooms and leeks in a gorgonzola and cream sauce. Schofield said, "Yea, decent for the price and all about the good sauce on the chicken. Not massively distinguished but ok." This dish is the main picture star at the top of the page.

The desserts are a patchy affair. The lemon torte (£4.95) is quite simply the worst pudding I've been presented with. It should be taken off the menu immediately and used to lag buildings in MediaCityUK. It wasn't so much like yellow play doh, it sort of was yellow play doh, with a similar taste too. Not good.

Play doh tortePlay doh torte

The sticky toffee pudding (£5.15), on the other hand, was a triumph. Hearty, warming and covered in lots of oozing toffee sauce.

Schofield asked for a cheeseboard and was incredulous that they didn't have one.

He said to the friendly and helpful Polish waitress, "The chicken had a gorgonzola sauce so you must have some cheese on the premises. Listen this isn't your fault but could you ask the chef whether he could find some cheese around the place and put it on a plate for me?"

She went to ask the chef and he said no, we had to stick to the menu. She apologised. Schofield's face went red and he muttered something about YAFIs (Confidential's acronym for endless generic Italian restaurants - Yet Another Fucking Italian).

That awkwardness aside the front of house service was good. There was even an extra bonus. We were alerted by the staff to a voucher that gave you one main course for £2 when you order another at full price. A nice touch.

The winelist is predicatable but reasonable enough and the setting is such that you could happily get through a bottle or two looking out onto the piazza at stationary trams as a lunch meeting unravels into an afternoon of 'brainstorming' and setting the world to rights.

In essence, Prezzo is a slightly more polished version of Pizza Express with possibly less cheese. Still it's the best place to eat in MediaCityUK. The soon-to-open Red House Restaurant will provide competition, which may mean it carries that crown for a very short time.

You can follow Simon Binns on Twitter @simonbinns

Prezzo, MediaCityUK, Salford Quays, M50 2HF. 0161 713 3742      

Rating: 13/20
Food: 6.5/10
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 3.5/5

All Confidential reviews are independent...

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

Pictures 011

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23 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2012.

If what 'Schofield' said was for real he is what I like to call a proper knob.

Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 26th 2012.

I thank you Anonymous. I am. But one that really likes cheese.

The Archbishop of CanterburyJanuary 26th 2012.

Strange though Anonymous that you make that comment under an 'Anonymous'. Calling names without revealing yourself is somewhat cowardly methinks.

EugeneJanuary 26th 2012.

Jonathan - have yuo just unwittingly called yourself knob cheese?

CheesmanJanuary 26th 2012.

In truth, asking for cheese isn't massively off menu

Peter WaltersJanuary 26th 2012.

Whats wrong about asking for some cheese? It is an Italian restaurant after all, if the chef cant be botherd to put some cheese on a plate, then I say the restaurant has bigger problems that over demanding customers!

Simon BinnsJanuary 26th 2012.


test-card girlJanuary 26th 2012.

I think it's a bit unfair to criticise a chain restaurant for declining to offer something that isn't on the menu.

Food and drink at Salford Quays has always been a bit lame. Prezzo sounds alright I s'pose but I'd probably rather go to Wagamama if I'm in that part of town (thanks for the heads-up, I hadn't realised one had opened at Media City!).

How does it compare to the likes of Strada and Zizzi - other Italian chains?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Simon BinnsJanuary 26th 2012.

It's on a par I'd say. Nice decor though.

Mr UnreasonableJanuary 26th 2012.

It's unfair to ask for cheese in a restaurant?

Eddy RheadJanuary 26th 2012.

Man wanders into an online review website. Asks for an article on thermo dynamics. Writer replies "Sorry but we dont have any articles on thermo dynamics on this website but we do have lots of other interesting articles perhaps you could read one of those" Man gets very uppity "But your other articles have words in them - cant you just take some words out of your other articles and make an article about thermo dynamics" Writer replies "Ill go and ask the editor".
"Turns out its not really what we do here as we are a review website and although we deal in words there is no indication anywhere that we do articles on thermo dynamics so i would say its a bit unreasonable for you to come in here and demand that we do something that we dont actually normally do".
Man leaves.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Simon BinnsJanuary 26th 2012.

We carried a piece on thermo dynamics last week.

Not really.

CheesmanJanuary 26th 2012.

Dear Mr Eddy do you never ever complain about anything in life, just take it on the chin? Are you seriously saying its ridiculous to ask for cheese in a restaurant?

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2012.

Hahahahahhahahahhahahahahha!!!!!!!! Brilliant! EDITORIAL COMMENT: This rant had to be edited as it contained too many exclamation marks. Generally only two are allowed unless exclaiming about a top cheese. Then you can have four

Eddy RheadJanuary 26th 2012.

All the best analogies do not stand up to intense scrutiny.
My very laboured point was - it seems the hospitality industry seems to be only place customers can ask some poor hard worked, under paid member of staff to do something that they are frankly not obliged to do in any other industry, namely produce stuff out of thin air for fussy customers and then face criticism when they dont.

EugeneJanuary 26th 2012.

Eddy....nice analogy/pi&& take but it's not quite the same point....a review website probably wouldn't have any articles remotely connected with anything like thermo dynamics....

A restaurant however that does not have cheese on the premises...now that would be as strange as a Laughing Cow

TheOnlyCheeseJokeWorthKnowingJanuary 26th 2012.

Did they have that new Middle Eastern cheese? Cheeses of Nazareth.


What's the only cheese that's made backwards? Edam.


What's the only cheese that starred in Desperate Housewives? Brie

NorthernGeezerJanuary 26th 2012.

"This dish is the main picture star at the top of the page"................looks like someones just thrown 'oop to me :-(

David in CheshireJanuary 28th 2012.

Blessed are the Cheesemakers.

AnonymousJanuary 28th 2012.

I'm going to try it today. However, there are more options around Salford Quays, although you might have to walk for 5 min. The Quay House (the pub, not the BBC building) has good steaks on the first floor, at least to my liking. It is pub food but their grill is good and you can get reduced prices depending of the day and time.

A bit further ahead but still in the Quays you have Chiquito and Frankie & Benny's (sp?). I personally like Bella Italia at the Lowry Outlet and I still have to try the new place, Harvester's (or something similar).

The Lowry Theatre has sometimes good tasty dishes at their restaurant but they change quite often, so if you like a dish you might find it is not there next time you go.

Other options are Café Rouge, Pizza Express, Pond Quay (buffet is just ok, but the A la Carte Menu is quite good) and Lime, where you can find good dishes here and there.

As you might be able to tell, I live in the area and I don't really complain much about the offer. For me, there is enough variety for quick last minute decision.

For lunch, Sovereign Food offers nice handmade sandwiches and baguettes between noon and 2pm. I think there is also a cafe/sandwich place at Anchorage but I have never been there.

Other than that, all the quick fast food at the Lowry. However, the Delifresh place (or similar name) makes most of the time good turkey/beef carvery if you are quick.

The point I am trying to make is that there are more options than the few you mentioned. I do not say, however, these are top places, but I thought we were talking about lunch options for the majority of the BBC. Maybe you were not aware of these other places, maybe you were and you deemed them not good at all as to be mentioned! In any case, I would love to read your review of any of these other places.

I think there is also room for an Indian or a Japanese restaurant, there are none around and plenty of room around the Quays to start one. Another Chinese would be nice too. I think Prezzo filled the last place for Italian restaurants, though.

Anyway, cheese should be always an option as dessert. In my region they put quince paste on top, tasty...

by SQ's local

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 31st 2012.

you are anonymous - who cares whether you like Bella Italia?

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