Iwas out for a meal at Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway. It’s being a while since I was last here, but I do remember have an excellent meal here back in June 2021. I did notice that Bella Italia at Cabot Circus which has been closed for a while, is now going to be a Bao Burger. I found that branch lacked character and atmosphere, whereas the Cribbs Causeway branch has a little more character and charm. They’ve updated it over the years and though at some time it had a classic Italian trattoria feel to it, today it is slightly more of a Italian inspired funky look.
We had booked, which having arrive, made sense, as the place was rather full. We were given a friendly welcome and we were shown to our table.
I looked over the menu. I didn’t think it was as interesting as it was back in June 2021, but there were some dishes I did like the sound of.In the end I went with the set menu, and I had a starter of Mushroom Crostini, which I enjoyed.
For my main I did initially think about having their new(ish) Pinsa Pizza.
With a bigger, thicker, crispier base, this traditional premium Italian Pinsa is hard to beat
I suspect if they had a white base pizza with mushroom and truffle then I would have gone for that. In the end I decided I would go with a pasta dish and I chose the Pollo Cacciatore – Roast chicken, pancetta, chestnut mushrooms and red onions tossed with pappardelle pasta in a white wine and tomato sauce. I did look at the image on the online menu and liked the look of the dish.
The dish which arrived didn’t quite look like the picture on the online menu!
This is what I received.
This is what the online version looked like.
Having said that the pappardelle pasta was cooked well, and I liked the mushrooms and red onion in the dish. I could have quite easily lost the chicken though. The sauce was tasty and I had some extra parmesan added which enhanced the dish.
Overall I did enjoy my food and I enjoyed all three dishes I had from the set menu. I think after having such an excellent meal back in June 2021, I was a little disappointed. I think that it didn’t help that the dishes I received on my table didn’t reflect what was on the menu. Maybe they shouldn’t publish photographs of the dishes on the website. I probably will visit again at some time.
I did quite fancy a Caesar salad for lunch, but I don’t buy the kits, partly as I prefer making my own, partly, as I like more than croutons and parmesan, and mainly as I need to have gluten free croutons.
For my Caesar salad I took some Romaine Lettuce and cut in half and set them across the plate. To this I added some white anchovies, quartered small tomatoes and peelings of parmesan.
For the croutons, I took the crusts of a Schär white loaf and sliced it into cubes. In a hot pan I added some olive oil and some butter, to which I added the cubes of bread and some dried Italian herbs. Once the croutons are browned I took them out of the pan and drained them on some kitchen paper.
These were then added to the salad, followed with some freshly ground black pepper.
I have variations, sometimes I prefer sun-dried tomatoes, but then I do like fresh, it’s a preference.
I do sometimes add Caesar salad dressing, but usually have it on the side.
This is a warming pasta dish that has a somewhat autumnal feel to it, but you can eat it at anytime.
I generally make this sauce (and variations of it) for a range of different pasta, but as I quite like tortellini, this time I had the sauce with filled pasta.
I use fresh tortellini, one day I might get round to making some by hand, I have made fresh pasta before, but then my pasta machine broke, and I haven’t replaced it. This was a spicy sausage tortellini from a supermarket which takes a few minutes to cook.
To make the sauce, in a large frying pan add a splash of olive oil. I also sometimes use truffle oil, which has a real flavour boost to the sauce. Then add some diced pancetta. My personal favourite of the moment is the pancetta from Aldi, however I also quite like buying it (when I can) from an Italian Deli and dice it myself. One the pancetta has started to cook, add chopped red onion and red pepper. Once the onion and pepper have softened, add some (well a fair bit) of sliced mushrooms. I usually add some butter as well at this point to help with the mushrooms cooking. I prefer using chestnut mushrooms, but also throw in some of the Woodland mushrooms from Morrisons as well.
When the mushrooms are nearly cooked, add a small bag of baby spinach. This will wilt down and should be stirred in.
I then add some creme frache mix into the mushrooms.
At this point I cook the pasta, which only takes a few minutes, drain, and add to the sauce. I then generously grate some parmesan into the sauce and pasta along with some freshly ground black pepper.
Popping over to the Temple Quay market for lunch it was a nice walk in the sun and there is something nice about buying street food in the summer weather. I managed to get there quite early, so was really spoilt for choice. Even getting their early there were already long queues for the Thai food and the slow cooked pulled pork.
I did think about getting Peruvian from the Uchu Perú stall, but though the food looked fantastic, I have tried to try new things, rather than buy things again. For those same reasons I also didn’t go for the tacos from the Little Taqueria as I have had them before (still need to write that blog post).
In the end after much thought, I went with Wild and Rustic who usually sell venison burgers, but this week had sous-vide chicken thighs cooked with lemon and thyme. These were then chargrilled before being served in a rustic sourdough bun with wild rocket confit garlic mayo, parmesan gremolata sweet potato crisps.
This was really delicious and I am glad I went back to the office to eat it, as I can imagine that trying to eat it straight from the box would be a somewhat messy affair.
The chicken was really nice, cooking sous-vide and then finishing off on the grill results in moist tasty chicken. The accompaniments really helped to finish off the chicken.
I really liked it, I did think it was slightly on the pricey side at £6.50 but then again getting the dish prepared in front of you and it tasting delicious, meant that I think it was a price worth paying.
I like pasta dishes and this was a quick and easy recipe. I took some linguine pasta and cooked it for ten minutes in boiling water. I never add salt or oil and never have a problem with cooking time, flavour or pasta sticking together.
When the pasta was cooked, I drained and then immediately added a beaten egg, creme frache and grated parmesan cheese. This was then served with a little freshly ground black pepper.
Needed a quick supper tonight, so cooked some really nice linguine pasta. Once it was cooked I tossed it in olive oil and added a couple of teaspoons of pesto. Tossed again and served with some freshly grated parmesan.
Considering how easy these are to make and taste so much better fresh I am surprised that people don’t make them more often.
Take some puff pastry.
Now here’s a question? Am I hypocritical for being surprised that people buy cheese straws but then go ahead and buy ready made puff pastry to make my own? Is that not just the kettle and the pot calling each other names?
Well yes I did use ready made puff pastry. I usually make straws after using the puff pastry for something else and there is some left over.
So I rolled it out, grated some parmesan onto it, folded it over, repeated twice more.
I then cut the cheesy pastry into strips about six inches long and half an inch wide.
These I then twist, hold each end and twist your hands in opposite directions to get a twisty cheese straw.
Brush with egg and scatter some more grated parmesan onto the top.