Bella Italia has really come on leaps and bounds over the past 5 years or so. They’ve always made delicious food but the menu used to be full of Anglo-Italian dishes that lacked much flair or authenticity and seemed a bit basic. Now though, that has all changed and the menu boasts of tomatoes sourced from farmers in Emilia-Romagna, pasta from the oldest pasta producer in Italy, the Agnesi family, and a fantastic new dessert on the menu. Very cool! But is this all just marketing speak?
Definitely not! We ordered Pizza Roma Luganica Rosmarino – a massive pizza topped with sausage, salami and rosemary, and pasta Agnello – a rich lamb and red wine ragu with fresh casarecce pasta. The pizza has a really thin base and the quality of all the toppings really shone through, especially the sausage and the sweet tomato sauce. It was absolutely massive, but luckily I have a boundless appetite for pizza! The lamb pasta was so good; the meat was sweet and really tender. The red wine adding some richness and the fresh pasta was perfectly cooked.
Now for dessert; the best bit! Cannoli! Yes, I repeat, cannoli! Anyone who knows me personally know that I’m on an endless search for the elusive cannoli. Am I’m amazed that they are on the menu at a UK Italian restaurant chain, sort of. As part of their new menu, Bella Italia are offering Shot Glass Desserts. We ordered 2 Strawberry Cannoli, 2 Salted Caramel Chocolate and a 1 Limoncello Tart. The cannoli one was basically a biscuit base topped with sweetened ricotta and chocolate chips (the typical filling for cannoli) topped with strawberry sauce and a mini cannoli shell. So basically, it’s a deconstructed mini cannoli, amazing! I hope they keep it on the menu. The salted caramel chocolate mousse was gorgeous too and the Limoncello Tart was good but but a little bit too sharp and citrusey.
This is the best Bella Italia has ever been, and the fact that cannoli are on the menu means I’ll never skip dessert again! It was blooming cold in there though!!
Keith’s Kitchen rating: 4.5/5
Location & date of visit: Southampton Hanover, 02/11/2016