After reading in Olive magazine that this restaurant was the best Italian outside of Italy, I had to give it a whirl. So during the World Cup, my best friend and I decided to have a girls night out and visit Ciao Bella.
It is situated on a busy London street alongside other restaurants and delis; however on approaching Ciao Bella, this was obviously the restaurant to be at as it was heaving. It was a balmy summer’s night so outside was packed but as we entered so was inside, both upstairs and downstairs, surprising for 7pm on a Tuesday night.
We were sat at a table for two and were placed on rather intimate terms with the table of two next to us. If you are after an intimate and quiet meal, then Ciao Bella is not for you! As promised in the magazine review, there were two ample bowls of olives and parmesan chunks, so I was happy to munch away – luckily it was all for me as my companion likes neither! I would like to say I enjoyed these while perusing the menu but as it was we were asked for our order two minutes after sitting down! We asked for some more time, which we were given, but this did seem to set the timing for the evening as everything felt a little rushed. It maybe because they were very busy, as when we left a little over an hour later, there was still a queue of people waiting outside.
However the rushed service was forgotten with the delicious Italian food. My stuffed mushrooms with ricotta and spinach were melt in the mouth and such a simple but classic combination. H’s Parma Ham and Melon was also simply presented but then no need to muck about with two complementing flavours. The portions were huge and I spotted another table of 4 sharing 2 starters amongst them-what a good idea.
The mains were also big but as they both tasted so good, we managed to finish it all, would have been rude not to! I had one of the house specialities, Spaghetti and Seafood cooked in a greaseproof bag and presented to the table as this with the waiter emptying it on my plate with a flourish. H had one of the Specials of the Day, Beef stuffed with Bacon, Rosemary and Onion. H thought it was delicious and was different putting bacon and beef together. The only slight critiscism was there was too much rosemary.
Back to the rush; as soon as our plates had been taken away, dessert menus were thrust at us and two minutes later, our orders were taken; due to all the desserts being either frozen or ready made, they were served within a minute of being ordered! A cassata was refreshing on a hot day but had to be forced down on a very full stomach!
Would I go again? Yes I would. The food made the place; would just recommend booking ahead and being prepared for the service.