in Love with Primavera,
were two problems with the Knutsford Zizzi: 1)
It was stuck at the end of King Street like Billy
no-mates. 2) It was big on space and short on atmosphere.
However, the observant among you will have spotted
the recent changes brought about by manager -turned
owner, Sayed Khalifa. His 40
The result? You only went there if you had to.
years in the industry
and first hand-knowledge of the old Zizzi (4 years
in charge) have enabled him to give the place a new
lease of life.
Investing his own money, he has broken free from corporate
shackles and brought forth Primavera. His biggest challenge
was to turn Zizzi’s inherent problems to his
The newly blossomed Primavera restaurant does indeed occupy
the same position at the end of King Street but the addition
of three pavement tables gives it a new identity. Those
tables enjoy the light and space denied to other, more
central eateries, and have become the first stop for browsers,
shoppers and sight-seers and anyone en route from Tatton
Park or in need of rest and an Illy coffee.
The changes are subtle. The authentic wood-fired oven still
looks enticing (and serves up pizza and calzone unrivalled
for flavour and texture). The dining space is better filled,
the lighting softer. The place feels warmer and more intimate.
I was there early one Thursday and it was already busy -
and the real key to atmosphere is the buzz of happy diners.
The second problem (size vs. atmosphere) was perhaps less
easily solved. Sayed started by stripping away the red
Zizzi uniform and replacing it with fresh, welcoming white.
Add the new name, the outside tables and... so far so much
the same? I went along to find out.
He’s employed new staff – very attentive and
lots of them. (We were asked four times if our food was
OK... watched over by their boss they clearly want to get
it right.) And he has lots of marketing ideas up his sleeve – starting
with a two for one offer – intended to reward regular customers and attract
has cleverly kept those things from the old Zizzi
that worked – the open kitchen, the un-pretentious
food at reasonable prices and the guarantee of fresh,
authentic Italian dishes, but added more individual
touches. He has extended the grill menu to include
a range of quality local meats and daily specials.
There’s live music most nights – and
I must say I enjoyed being serenaded as I ate.
The improvements work. My risotto was creamy and moist
and full of lovely fresh veg. The pizzas were (still)
the best in town and I was happy with the bill. I’m
almost tempted to say Sayed knows his (spring) onions.
He is certainly adding to the tally of quality independents
in town. And I have a feeling that the far end of King
Street is fast becoming the place to be.
Girl About Town
Ristorante & Bar
125A King Street
Cheshire WA16 6EH
01565 633824 to reserve your table.
Takeaway pizza also available.