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.
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.
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
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.
23 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.
If you gonna name drop,the idea is it someone at least someone might have heard of.Read more
I sent Tom Parker-Bowles here last Thursday, saying thanks, he said"thanks for Hunan, top notch". I…Read more
AVO, its free entry so don't moan about something you obviously haven't been to at least try it…Read more
The food is excellent. The surroundings less so.Read more