The Italian Kitchen, Alveston Review

The Italian Kitchen is thriving and becoming busier and busier since it took up residence some six months ago within the Alveston House Hotel. The interior is large, light and airy with pale oak flooring and a white panelled ceiling, together with comfortable seating, tables laid with good cutlery and snowy white serviettes which gives the feel that all is fresh and new. We liked the fact that our table for two was set with a complimentary bowl of mixed olives and Italian breads to nibble whilst we perused the menu which has a great choice of all things Italian including of course pasta and pizza.

I love arancini so was pleased to find it amongst the antipasti : risotto balls filled with crispy pancetta, basil and mozzarella, covered in bread crumbs and fried, followed by linguini casa (always a good idea to take the restaurant speciality!), linguini cooked in a rich ragù with home-made spicy meatballs. My husband ordered bianchetti, deep fried whitebait served with a tartare dip, followed by a sirloin steak with formaggi sauce (made with blue cheese, white wine and cream), and chips. It didn’t escape my notice that on the menu there is a steak night each Tuesday when you can partake of two sirloins and a half litre of house wine for £30 which seems like a good offer not to be missed and I mentally pencilled in a Tuesday in the near future.

The restaurant has a jolly ambience and whilst we waited for our starters, we got food envy watching a party of eight being delivered of plates piled high with delicious looking main courses. However, we were not disappointed as our starters were equally impressive and beautifully presented. I pinched the lovely crisp and fresh salad that garnished my husband’s whitebait as he operates a ‘no leaves I am not a rabbit’ policy which funnily enough complemented my very large and rich arancini, and we both enjoyed our starters greatly.

We ordered an excellent glass of Shiraz for me and Rioja for him to go with our main courses; the wine list is very reasonable with Argentinian Malbec at £19.50 per bottle, and a robust Valpolicella at £23.00. The main courses were served looking wonderful, and very, very, large! My linguini was delicious smothered with its rich ragù sauce and not quite hiding three spicy home-made meatballs, and my husband’s steak was tender and cooked exactly to his liking (so we will be back for the steak night).

Despite loosening our waistbands and groaning we finished off with a shared dessert of white Belgium chocolate cheesecake, garnished with winter fruits which was excellent, and as a happy ending to the evening we were given the winter variation of limoncello – salted caramel cream liqueur.

Jacquie Vowles