Susan Lee finds a flavour of holidays past in Prezzo
I LOVE Italy. I love the people, the places, the sunshine. But most of all I love the food. Sadly, many restaurants which try to recreate that authentic Italian taste in this country are hit and miss affairs at best.
The soggy pizza bases. The watery pasta. The claggy risotto. We’ve endured them all in supposed Italian restaurants over the years.
In the end, as a diner, you come to expect the average only to visit Italy on holiday, as we did this year, and discover how short changed you’ve been over the years.
Prezzo in New Brighton may be about to alter all that.
The restaurant is a chain but this particular venue is recently opened at Marine Point.
For those who haven’t been to New Brighton for a while this is a development which has transformed the town offering, as it does, a hotel, cinema, casino, theatre and conference centre as well as retail space.
There are also lots of eateries springing up too making it a bit of a go-to place by both day and night.
Certainly in terms of the view it’s hard to beat. What could be better than grabbing a bite or a coffee while looking out across the Mersey to the Liverpool skyline?
The evening we went, however, I had another fabulous view on my mind in the shape of Daniel Craig.
With cinema tickets booked for the four of us – me, husband and two kids – we decided to make an evening of it and eat out in nearby Prezzo beforehand.
First impressions were good.
We were greeted quickly and with a friendly smile and shown to a table next to large windows which, in the day, would flood the restaurant with light but which at dusk afforded a great view across the river.
The dining room is open plan and spacious with a mixture of banquette and tabled seating allowing for both families and dinner a deux.
Drinks ordered – draught Peroni (£4.25), a fruity glass of Merlot (£3.35) and two San Pellegrino Orange (£2.10) – we started with the bread board (£4.85) marinated olives (£2.95) and antipasto platter (£10.95 to share).
The breads – tomato and pesto bread, mozzarella and garlic and ciabatta – were super fresh and tasty while the balsamic vinegar was tangy without being tart.
The olives were some of the best I’ve ever had, too. We even managed to persuade the kids to try some.
Meanwhile my husband was tucking in to Prosciutto ham, salami Milano, spicy ventricina salami and buffalo mozzarella accompanied by baby sunblushed tomatoes, fresh rocket and ciabatta bread.
He’s a bit of an antipasto nerd, knowing just how things should taste, their consistency and texture, so this was an acid test.
Fortunately, the dish passed with flying colours. A little expensive perhaps but you couldn’t argue with the quality.
Next, another acid test for any Italian worth its salt – pizza.
We chose from across the board, the kids opting for a Margherita (£7.20) and a spicy beef (£9.55), me a prosciutto e funghi (£8.95) and Tony a quattro formaggi (£8.40).
All were apparently made with the freshest ingredients – the gorgonzola and goat’s cheese on the quattro formaggi was perfect, my mushrooms flavoursome and meaty while the roquito chilli peppers gave the spicy beef kick without being overpowering.
The bases too were light and crispy – no hint of sogginess or having been left to sit once cooked. They tasted like those we had enjoyed in Tuscany in August – universally agreed to have then been the best we’d had.
The kids finished with a selection of creamy ice cream (£3.50) which was tasty and devoured in a flash while we had a frothy cappuccino each (£2.10).
Replete, we left in plenty of time for the start of the Bond movie.
James might be 007 but for us Prezzo is a 10 out of 10.