Firstly, many thanks to the people of Bella Italia for inviting us along to a fresh menu tasting! Free food is always a plus for me!
My wife, daughter (who insisted upon wearing one of her princess dresses, and why not eh?) and myself were seated promptly upon arrival and surprised to learn that we would be sampling the complete range of new menu items that Bella Italia are considering. We were even more surprised when full-sized dishes were brought out! Given the occasion, this was very generous and drew an expression of delight:
So, on to the food. Round 1, the starters.
In the red corner – Pizza bread:
In the blue corner – Risotto balls:
Which would win? Or would we have a joint winner? Would one dish do a Tyson Fury and retire for five minutes?
The pizza bread was nice. It was good. It’s hard to go wrong with it. The risotto balls were amazing, but it wasn’t until after I’d eaten one that my wife informed me of the terrible truth – these were mushroom risotto balls!
It couldn’t be. Mushrooms are things of pure evil. How could such great flavour come from such a hideous thing? I didn’t want to believe it, but as I cracked open another, I realised it was true.
But it was possible. I had actually enjoyed a mushroom dish. More than enjoyed. I had loved it.
My daughter by the way, being six, had the tomato soup off the kids menu, but it was more of a minestrone/vegetable soup. She enjoyed it, but it was different to what we expected.
So, on to the mains, of which there were three:
From left to right: a chicken dish with spinach and ricotta ravioli, a mushroom ravioli and a panchetta tagliatelle. My wife had the mushroom dish and thoroughly enjoyed it – my attention was split between the other two. Chicken versus panchetta.
This may be more a reflection of my pallette and taste than the food itself, but there was a clear winner. The chicken dish was excellent. In fact, the hero for me was unquestionably the spinach and ricotta ravioli. It was gorgeous. In fact, if this were to be offered up as a menu choice on its own, with a creamy cheese sauce, and sprinkled with a little basil, I would bury my face in the bowl.
From left to right: Salted caramel gelato, chocolate orange gelato and banofee gelato. I don’t personally like orange in that sort of style, but the other two desserts were wow! I’d happily devour the restaurant’s entire supply of banofee.
My daughter had some strawberry gelato which was for some reason amusing to look at:
So, how would I rate the visit to Bella Italia? Very highly. In fact, I give it the highest accolade a meerkat can give – a three-grub rating! My little girl also declared it the best restaurant ever!