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Even More Bella

September 2015 saw Bella Italia launch a brand new menu and a brand new look. Their venues up and down the country are getting a fab new makeover featuring bold Mediterranean colours, cosy booths and quirky Italian styling including Vespas and gelato carts where you can create your own dessert. My girlfriend and I were kindly invited to go down and try it out as part of their #BellasBigFreeDinner campaign. Upon arriving at their Church Street restaurant in Blackpool we approached the counter and were greeted with a friendly smile and shown quickly to our seats.

What originally struck me when we were seated was the fact that the restaurant looked a lot nicer than when I was last in. I’ve been to the Church Street venue once before and I remember it being quite dark and intimate but this time it looked open and bright, whether this was down to a refurbishment or just new lights I’m not sure as it was a long time ago I visited, but either way I really enjoyed being in there!

New look Bella Italia on Church Street

The table we were seated at was all laid out for us with the menu and a feedback form to fill in at the end, and the waiter happily got us two drinks. He was very polite and was clearly experienced, offering the menu to my girlfriend first, giving her her drink first etc. Because we were dining as a couple we didn’t need to choose from the menu, we just got everything! Which let me tell you was a delight as choosing what to eat when it all just looks so tasty is very hard. There were two platters to choose from as starters but they combined it into one big one for us. It was a combination of different types of hams, salami and pepperoni as well mozzarella cheese, bread sticks, ciabattas and olives.

Mixed sharing platter, with sundried tomatoes, charcuterie, olives and ciabatta.

It arrived very promptly and we tucked in. It came on a wooden board with a pot of olives and a pot of breadsticks and was all very well presented though the breadsticks felt a little out of place as there was nothing to dip them in. The meat was great, it tasted fresh and was not too fatty as can be the case with some Italian cured meats. After dressing with a little vinegar we piled the ciabattas high and within minutes we’d finished, the only thing we left was the olives as I don’t think I’m at the age where you suddenly become enlightened and go olive mad (that said my little sister and brother who are around 13 love olives, so what do I know?) Whilst waiting for the mains to come we had to chance to look around some more and spotted Rylan observing our dinner. I had no idea who this chap watching over us as we dined was, but my girlfriend seemed to know who he was and we got into a debate as to whether he looked like Adam Levine in the top picture, I was saying he did she was saying he didn’t. It got to the heated stage where I was about to bring my phone out and Google him but then our mains arrived! We got tucked in straight away. Embarrassingly we didn’t take a picture until half way through because they were so delicious we just couldn’t wait to start (which I believe is a good thing!)

Lamb shanks with fluffy potato and delicious cheesy pasta  hearts

We had: Meaty pizza with both ham and salami, cheese pasta in the shape of hearts (great for couples!), as well as a lamb shank! The lamb shank was my favourite dish, the mashed potato was fluffy and delicious, the gravy looked like proper homemade gravy and the meat just fell away from the bone and straight into my mouth. I didn’t expect to like the four cheese pasta as I do love cheese but as a rule it seems only the ones made in the North of England that aren’t too strong. I once ordered a four cheese pizza in Paris and in my naivety failed to realise that obviously it wasn’t going to be loaded with cheddar and wensleydale, so couldn’t finish it! However the combination of cheeses in this pasta dish were not too strong and the cheese sauce was perfect, not too creamy and not too runny. And then we had the pizza. It was a stuffed crust with garlic dip and the topping was an Italian cured meat that wasn’t quite pepperoni. The pizza tasted great, it was hot, the cheese was melted perfectly, stretching as you pulled your slice away, however the only thing that disappointed me was that the base was a little soggy. This may just be a case of personal preference though as I like my pizza bases thin and crispy and everyone has their own preferences. Needless to say the mains went down a treat and by the end there was just a couple of pasta parcels left, the lamb shank being picked clean and not a crumb of the pizza was left. These were taken away and it was time for my girlfriend to get another cocktail, I was on San Pellegrino Orange as I was designated driver! She decided to go for a Tuscan Twizzle this time.

I was told it was very strong but in a good way and it was a great way for her to wash down her mains. My San Pellegrino was as nice as ever. Onto the desserts and we received both to share between us. We got a Limoncello Meringue Pie which was served with a lemon sorbet as well as 2 scoops of Italian Gelato. The Gelato list of flavours was huge, I didn’t manage to get a snap of this as the waiter just showed us and took it away, but we went for the honeycomb flavour.

Now, I’m a bit funny when it comes to lemon flavoured things. I love lemonade, I loved the lemon sorbet that was served with the lemon meringue but I’ve never been a fan of lemon flavoured cream or lemon tarts for example. So I tried the Lemon Meringue and whilst I could see why if you liked that flavour of dessert you would like this particular one, it just wasn’t for me. However I was informed by my girlfriend that the pastry tasted great, the meringue was perfect and she said it was delicious and the nicest Lemon Meringue Pie she had ever eaten, going so far as to call it her “perfect dessert”. I on the other hand happily sat with my two scoops of honeycomb ice creams which was definitely Italian style, it was creamy and the honeycomb pieces were in good supply! After the meal we sat and filled in our review forms to hand back to the management and we were not rushed out of the restaurant like you can be in other places, we were left to sit and relax (and avoid slipping into food comas) but eventually it was time to leave. All in all it was a great night and I would like to thank Bella Italia for the opportunity to come down and sample their new menu. I will definitely be back to have that lamb shank again.

More information on Bella Italia Church Street

Guest Blog by Dan Postlethwaite Fancy writing a guest blog for Sugarvine? Just email your guest blog to along with your name.