Belles Night Out
Bella Italia, for ladies who missed lunch
Four women with only one thing on their minds... FOOD. Strike that, four women, two things on their minds... Food and WINE...
Bella Italia wasn't at its most packed when we descended on it on a Tuesday evening, but staff had more than enough to do keeping up with four busy mums' insatiable appetites.
One of the four had the excuse of pregnancy. The rest of us just had no shame as we impatiently set about ordering olives and bread to tide us over before choosing our starters.
Our waiter was very attentive and Italianate, although I must confess to having doubts over the authenticity of his accent. But given our starvation, who were we to quibble over his origin just as long as the food came presto, and it did.
Lady Number One (that's me) and Two chose the Gamberoni -
Lady Three opted for Insalata Rucola - 'rocket salad with shaved parmesan & balsamic dressing' (£3.50)'. Not strictly a starter as you could tell by the mountain that appeared. It disappeared soon after.
Lady Four went for Calamari - 'squid, floured and deep-fried until golden served with lemon mayonnaise' (£4.50).
Main courses were more tricky to decide on after being informed that there was only one portion of chips left in the kitchen. After much politely restrained squabbling over who would have to give up the chips I admirably stepped out of the deliberations and opted for the Chef's special (£8.95) – linguine with mussels. It was exactly as described - not awe inspiring but pretty tasty.
Lady Two went for Pollo alla Griglia - 'chargrilled chicken breast with a dolcelatte, white wine and cream sauce, served with garlic mushrooms, fries and rocket & tomato salad' (10.25). Yes, she got the fries...
For Lady Three, the Penne Fresco - 'Goat's cheese, cherry tomatoes, fresh spinach and extra virgin olive oil, sauteed with penne pasta and topped with toasted pine nuts' (£7.95).
On the wine front we went for a Rosé - Pinot Grigio Blush, Casa Defra, Veneto (£44.85 divided by three) to maintain the semblance of it being summer. Three bottles later coffee and pudding were a necessity.
As for the puddings, there is no way I would allow children anywhere near me when I next indulge. These puddings, especially mine, were too good to share, although let it be noted that I did on this occasion.
Lady Two had Fondente al Cioccolato - 'warm melting chocolate pudding served with crema inglese' (£4.75), Lady Three had Banoffee Italiano - 'banoffee with a twist! Slices of banana and caramel sauce on a crisp biscuit base, covered with zabaglione cream and sprinkled with crushed amaretti biscuits' (£4.50). And last but not least, Lady Four's Tiramisu - 'authentic Italian dessert with light sponge soaked in coffee and marsala wine, layered with mascarpone and zabaglione cream and dusted with cocoa powder' (£4.25). Lady One (that's me) won hands down as everyone on the table would agree, having nicked large spoonfuls.
June 28, 2007