“I want to come here every day!” declares J as we sit tucking into the most delicious bread basket. The setting is Bella Italia in Didsbury, a bustling Manchester suburb. We are there on bank holiday Monday to check out the new refurbishment and enjoy a relaxed family meal.
The first thing that strikes me about the revamped Bella Italia is the use of bright colours. Not gaudy, but more reminiscent of a 60s retro feel. Bright lamp shades, vibrant red and blue furniture and bold wall art are the perfect way to recreate an Italian café and Bella have got it just right. Add little things like a well-stocked bar, a dedicated gelato cart and the most humongous pepper mill, and the stage is set for the perfect meal.
J, the seasoned restaurant reviewer that he is (and very vocal too), sits pouring over the children’s menu, while M and I ponder over the drinks. As M is driving us back, we both opt for colas. J goes for orange juice, “with no bits.”
The staff at Bella Italia are courteous and attentive, and provide J with a miniature bucket of breadsticks and a large colouring-in sheet. The child gets busy giving the Leaning Tower of Pisa a make-over. His parents nibble olives.
The food arrives promptly, cheesy garlic bread for J, mushroom and risotto balls for M and golden-fried squid with a delicious garlic mayo and tomato dip for me. It is beautifully presented on wooden platters and tastes just as good as it looks.
On to the mains and we all opt for our respective favourites. J goes for the trusty margherita pizza with chicken and peppers. M does the creamy prawn risotto with chilli and garlic. I pick a Diavola calzone. There is something about eating a giant folded crescent pizza that I find particularly appealing. Even more so when it is stuffed full of sausage, pepperoni, chicken and spice.
M is torn between the chocolate fudge brownie and the chocolate cookie dough cake. And I thought I was the chocoholic in this relationship. He settles for the latter, and promptly comments on the chewy nature of his pudding after the first mouthful. I have never known cookie dough to be anything but chewy!
I almost settle on a coffee liqueur, but opt for the lemon tart instead. Turns out I have made a wise choice. The refreshing tangy zestiness of the lemon contrasted beautifully by a jug of cream is the perfect way to end a bank holiday meal at Bella Italia.
I am literally like the cat who got the cream as I walk away from this comfortable, spacious and welcoming Italian restaurant in Didsbury. Bellissimo, indeed!
Disclaimer: We were guests of Bella Italia for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.