Our brand loyalty for Pasta was, until recently, with Prezzo, the Sidcup branch in particular.
However, finding ourselves in Bexleyheath early evening and looking for an early dinner, we found ourselves in Bella Italia.
First impressions were of a less frantic and far quieter restaurant than Prezzo, softer background music, and an imaginative, contemporary, and well designed interior.
All in all, a little more ‘grown up’ than it’s rivals.
We were seated by an extremely pleasant and professional waiter, drinks were served quickly, and we were given just enough time to view the imaginative and varied menu before our order was taken.
We settled for 2 lasagne, and garlic bread with caramalised onions and mozzarella.
This is our ‘go to’ dish in any of the main-chain pasta restaurants, but this stood out from the rest as exceptionally fresh; the menu boasts made in-house daily, and it certainly tasted so.
Served piping hot in a cast iron dish, with a bubbling crust of melted mozzarella, and freshly grated parmesan and black pepper both added at the table.
All washed down with a couple of glasses of Frascati and house draft lager, and all in all not much not to like.
The bill was presented with a couple of vouchers for 40% off mains on our next visit; we returned the following Sunday around 6.00 to find they were fully booked; our 2nd visit was duly postponed until the following Tuesday.
The waiter who served us the previous week was now on ‘meet and greet’ duties, and we had a new server who sadly was trying her best to cover far too many tables, with the obvious consequences of too long a wait from being seated to receiving menus, and too long again between ordering and food arriving.
I went against my usual pasta / lasagne and opted instead for chicken and ribs; this was served with perfect thin fries, a couple of real onion rings, and an excellent Diablo type dipping sauce; my Wife went for grilled chicken with salad.
On arrival, the salad had been forgotten and the chicken served instead with thin fries; this was however soon rectified and a house salad quickly followed.
The food for both of us was faultless; the only problem was with the service.
We were offered desert menus but despite fancying something sweet, had no choice but to decline as we were now running out of time.
A shame really, as a smart server would have got another round of drinks and 2 deserts out of us; the smart server would also have pocketed a £7 tip, which on this occasion was neither earned nor offered.
The verdict is that Bella Italia have won 2 new customers; we would highly recommend, and would have given a straight 5 stars if we had got the same waiter for both visits.
Well worth a try, but make sure you download the current offer to keep the bill at a realistic level, and don’t go when you are in a hurry, as it is clearly pot luck on who you get to serve you.
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