Another revisit on the Canny Food blog, this time to Bella Italia. We’d heard they’d updated their vegan menu, which now included also included burger and risotto main course option alongside their cheese-free pizza and Lenticchie (lentil Bolognese) mainstays.
You can read about a previous trip to Bella Italia here. One of the few chains to constantly revise their ever-expanding menu, there are a range of dishes to suit any appetite. I was dining with my non-vegan son who was, by his own declaration, ‘starving’. I didn’t feel like olives or soup, but he was adamant he wanted a starter.
He opted for Mozzarella Carrozza, a dreamy combo (I may be vegan but I still miss cheese, right?!) of breadcrumbs and cheese. He practically inhaled the dish!
Dinky was given crudites and bread sticks while she entertained herself with some colouring in. It’s always good to see restaurants offering smaller portions or nibbles to little ones who are still not quite at the stage where they’d eat a plateful of food.
The Teen decided upon the Bologna pizza for his main course, which was topped with a beef ragu and garlic mushrooms. The pizza dough seemed undercooked and he struggled to plough his way through, despite his alleged appetite. He said that the base had put him off and that he much preferred Cal’s Own to this chain. Clever lad.
My main of Risotto Funghi was lacklustre, it has to be said. Billed as a ‘rich mushroom risotto with Pachino tomatoes, rocket and sweet balsamic glaze’ I felt it lacked any kind of earthy flavour. The rice was grainy, and it lacked the creaminess one would expect from a well-executed dish.
It was really hard to be enthused by what was on offer at Bella Italia, especially considering how well other chain restaurants like Las Iguanas and ASK Italian accommodate vegans. I wasn’t in the mood for dessert after such a disappointing meal, although the Morello Cioccolato may have soothed my pain. While Bella have a mixed bag of main course options which are SFV, their dairy and gluten-free chocolate cake pud is definitely worth a try. I think in such a competitive market these days you’d be better off supporting an independent or visiting another chain over Bella Italia unfortunately. It would be good to see the quality improve, although I appreciate the fact they are trying with their offering. For over £40 – including soft drinks – we’d have had a more satisfactory meal at the likes of Zizzi or PizzaExpress.
Thanks for reading,