Who doesn’t love an Italian? Pizza, pasta, delicious antipasti… Well, actually, when you think about it, sometimes eating Italian in Britain can really leave you wanting. Pizza that is slightly on the soggy side, pasta that’s a bit too stodgy or steak that is just tough and sinewy… all of which brings you back down to earth, to your local high street, rather than imagining you are on some sun soaked piazza in Rome.
Well, when we were invited along to try out the new menu at Bella Italia, we were indeed keen to see how it would measure up to our expectations. The new revamp of the Bristol store was a great surprise. Modern light fittings, a cute bar and super helpful service, as soon as we arrived, meant we were off to a good start.
Taking a look at the menu, we soon discovered there was an array of classic Italian dishes, as well as some new modern updates, and we couldn’t wait to dig in. Not only were we intrigued by the new recipes for their classics, such as lasagne and carbonara, but we loved that a few of the pasta dishes were available to have instead with spiralised vegetable ‘spaghetti’, made from courgettes, carrots, and golden beetroot. But with a hankering for some pasta, we decided to give their fresh pasta a try on this occasion.
Just a note, we were giving the Bristol Baldwin branch a try, so prices may vary from those below.
Bella Italia New Menu – Starters
A Taste of Italy Antipasti – £11.95
A sharing board is a great way to get everyone involved. Consisting of a couple of northern Italian hams (Mortadella and Speck), Southern Italian salamis (Spinata and Capocollo), olives, courgette, fennel, radishes, and more!
A pretty good spread which you can pick away at, or pile on top of the ciabatta slices, then smother with the peperonata salsa or olive tapenade for a really tasty bite. All agreed that the tapenade was the star of the show here, once all the bread had been used up we were digging deep with the breadsticks.
New Arancini Peperonata – £6.25
In addition to the sharing board, we thought we’d give a few starters a try between us, and the Arancini balls were the first to jump out at us from the menu. These little deep-fried bites of joy were made up of risotto, pepper and mozzarella and coated with breadcrumbs. These truly were uh-mazing.
With a side of a simple, yet tasty, pomodoro dip – fresh tomato sauce to you and me – these are truly tasty bites that are a must-try on your next visit.
Calamari – £6.45
Now calamari can often be a bit hit and miss, chewy squid that is completely dry and fried to a crisp. These little golden rings however, were the exact opposite. Soft, covered in a light batter these little squid rings were crisp and complimented perfectly by a squeeze of lemon and the lemon mayo.
Bella Italia New Menu – Mains
After chowing down on our selection of antipasti and starters we were concerned that we might be too full to dig into our mains. Luckily for us we found the pasta, which is all fresh, was extremely light and it really wasn’t too much of a burden to clean out entire plates.
New Salmone Limone – £10.45
One of the new dishes to the Bella Italia menu, smoked salmon with tenderstem brocolli, served with curly spaghetti all in a creamy, lemony sauce sounded like a match made in heaven. I was a little concerned that the sauce might be too
I was a little concerned that the sauce might be too heavy but the lemon really cut through the creamy sauce and little dollops of mascarpone across the dish added that bit of luxury. The curly spaghetti was a fun twist, have you ever noticed that a pasta dish is more enjoyable with an interesting shaped pasta?
New Carbonara – £9.95
Now onto the carbonara. We all know the classic carbonara, pasta in a cheesy creamy sauce with smoky pancetta. However, Bella Italia has rejigged their recipe with this new take on the classic.
Carbonara can be a dish that is pretty heavy, the kind of dish that can leave you with a post dinner slump, however, I was told, this good sized portion was still quite light. The addition of leeks gave the dish a fresh element and the crispy rashers of bacon on top were the pièce de résistance.
New Lasagne – £10.25
Often you can get the feeling with lasagne that you could have as good job of it in your own kitchen, so not always the dish you’d try. Intrigued by the new recipe, my co-diner decided he had to try it. Freshly made in house every day this layered delight was luxurious without being too rich.
The lasagne, we were told is freshly made in house every day. This layered delight, filled with a beef ragu and bechamel sauce, and topped off with mozzarella and granello cheeses, was luxurious without being too rich.
New 10oz Ribeye Steak – £19.25
Served on a branded Bella Italia board, the rib eye was nice and juicy accompanied by your choice of roast potatoes, salad, mash or chips. Personally, I would have gone for the chips but the salad was probably a good choice considering our bread ladened starter. The peppercorn sauce that came alongside looked creamy and peppery and everything that you want from a peppercorn sauce.
Now if you are left hankering after a delicious Italian, make sure you head over to our Bella Italia page before eating out. Pick up a great saving with a voucher direct from vouchercloud and sample the new Bella Italia menu today.