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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Food Review: Bella Italia, Oxford

To celebrate all our recent achievements my (adopted) aunt treated myself, my mother and my (adopted) cousin to a meal. I have recently got a place at Nottingham Trent university, my mum on a new Open University course studying Philosophy and religion, and Nathaniel has just been awarded amazing grades for his GCSE examinations.

Her place of choice? Bella Italia, an Italian food chain both authentic and reasonably priced. We arrived promptly at seven. Sitting down, we were surrounded by delicious smells, homely Italian décor and excitement.

The restaurant was somewhat busy, and it took the waiter some time before he approached us. Not the biggest eaters we ordered mains, neglecting the appetising starters. My mother and aunt had the pollo picante, a spicy chicken pizza garnished with onions and green chillies. It could not have been particularly spicy as the pair dashed for some additional chilli oil. Nathaniel opted for the pesto genovese, consisting of thick pasta tubes, chicken, tomatoes, green beans and basil pesto. The portion large and fragrant, he devoured the lot impressively. I had to ruin all of this Italian splendour with the simplistic pollo ciabatta, a chargrilled chicken, lettuce, red onion and mayonnaise  ciabatta. This was accompanied by thick chips and a smoked tomato and onion relish, although this garnish was not as advertised and I am pretty sure I had Heinz to accompany my meal.

The mains were delicious and flawless. Our only dissapointment came at the blasé attitudes of the staff present, particularly our waiter who seemed content in his own world. It took him an age to ask us what we would like to order, take away our plates and present the bill, leaving us constantly searching for our waiter. The entrance door was left wide open for the majority of the evening, leaving us a tad chilly as we sat underneath the ample air conditioning vents.

However, desert kept the smiles on our faces as we ordered two of the torta limone (my mother and aunt seemed to be mirroring one another this evening), a cookie dough lava cake and a cioccolato diavola (or a brownie with ice cream for those of us who struggle with their Italian). These were all magnificent. The torta limone was presented chilled, garnished with strawberries. Me and Nathaniel's deserts on the other hand were served warm with vanilla pod ice cream. 

The entire meal came to £70 for the four of us, ridiculously cheap in my opinion. We left two hours later, stuffed and smiling. The conversation and fun of the evening making it a great family affair. I would definitely recommend visiting your local Bella Italia restaurant, just be sure to keep your waiters attention, I think all those delicious smells leaves them a tad confused!

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