Buon Appetito!

Kate Miranda heads to the new Bella Italia in Colliers Wood to feed her hungry clan and enjoy a tasty Italian meal

Midway through a kitchen renovation, we were tired, hungry and in need of a mid-week family meal so we decided to check out the newly opened Bella Italia at the Tandem Centre in Colliers Wood, just a few minutes walk from the Time & Leisure office. We were warmly welcomed and promptly seated and served. This is exactly the sort of service one needs for young children on a school night. The children’s menu has great options and is cleverly divided into age groups – three courses for £5.45 for children under six and £7.95 for children aged seven plus. The main menu is vast, with plenty of pizza, pasta, meat and poultry dishes. Upon discovering that fresh pasta is imported from Italy from the oldest pasta maker in Italy – the Agnesi family – both my husband and I chose a pasta dish.

The immediate talking point was the Roman street-themed decor. Italian posters from the 1950s adorn the walls, red leather booths occupy the centre and deep teal chairs frame the sides of the restaurant. There is a real warmth about the restaurant and it doesn’t look or feel like a chain.

My Gamberi starter (£6.45) of king prawns baked in garlic and chilli butter was delicious, as was my main of beef and red wine ravioli (£12.45). The ravioli was perfectly cooked and filled with shredded beef and topped with a rich beef ragu. My husband’s squid starter (£6.45) was lightly breaded and very tender. I had pasta envy when his Agnello Tagliatelle arrived (£10.75), which was a hearty looking rich pasta of slow cooked lamb and red wine ragu. I shall be going back for it!

The children were more than happy with their hamburgers and chips. Upon devouring their meals, they were thrilled to be invited to the Gelato bar to choose their favourite flavours while I finished the meal with a small amaretto chocolate pot with less than 300 calories – a guilt-free dessert.

Bella Italia has only been open a few weeks and already the 170- seat restaurant is full at weekends. With friendly and attentive staff, quick service and tasty food that is great value – it’s the perfect combination for an enjoyable family meal.

Bella Italia, Unit 13 Tandem Centre, Colliers Wood, SW19 2TY, 020 3058 3051 www.bellaitalia.co.uk

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