last week i went along to try out the new menu at my local bella italia. usually favouring family run local restaurants over brands, i was more than impressed by the overall bella experience right through from a overflowing antipasto platter to indulgent brownie dessert.
from the gold lettering on the windows right through to mismatched photo frames, the restaurant had an authentic, homely feel whilst still feeling like somewhere special for an occasion, anniversary or birthday. with a craving for a charcuterie board, it took about 30 seconds to decide upon the antipasti misto to share (£11.45).
the perfect mix of italian salami, speck ham, red pepper salsa, buffalo bocconcini mozzarella, bruschetta, ciabatta, grissini breadsticks and marinated green and black olives. the mozzerella and black olives were my favourite elements - the cheese having a fresh creamy and springy texture which you wouldn't want to spoil by melting or eating warm.
next up was king prawn risotto (£12.45) and a diavola calzone (£10.95). risotto is one of my favourite italian dishes so thought it made sense to see how the bella risotto fared. the friendly waiter came and wiped our table clean of our breadstick crumbs, presented us with new cutlery and topped up our water. the little things eh?
donating 50p to sport relief, the gamberoni risotto dish was made up of king prawns, edamame beans, peas and rocket and flavoured with a touch of lemon zest, garlic and a hint of chilli. the lemon really came through and complemented the winning garlic, chilli and rocket combination. not to mention the super creamy rice and giant prawns.
i didn't get a chance to try the calzone, which was brimming with n’duja sausage and pepperoni, chicken breast, cherry bell peppers, green chillies, red onion and mozzarella on a spicy arrabbiata. base though was told it was very crunchy. it wasn't really my thing and i was too in love with my risotto. however i'm told that it was very tasty with fluffy but crunchy pastry.
it's that time again... dessert time! i had the sticky fudge brownie with praline pieces and a melitng chocolate top. served with vanilla pod ice cream of course. again i'm always sceptical of desserts that haven't been homemade for fear of disappoint. a preconception i should really reconsider in future. this was a truly divine dessert of which i'd compare to that of the bitter chocolate gu puds. the praline pieces were a revolution to me and i'm already planning a way to put them in my own brownies.
no that isn't your eyes going funny, that really is a bendy sundae glass! this godfather banana sundae (actual name) was a naughty combination of vanilla and honeycomb ice cream, sliced banana and caramel sauce, topped with whipped cream, fudge pieces and a wafer curl. possibly one of your five a day so it's all good.
why not try out bella italia for yourself this week? i hear they have a valentine's menu as well as a new breakfast menu too :)
note: i was invited for a complementary meal to review the new menu - though all opinions are my own.