Walking through the impressive Italian deli at the front of the restaurant, we asked if it would be possible to dine without a reservation.
Despite it being 8pm on a Friday, we were made to feel welcome and shown promptly to a table.
Our waitress was attentive and friendly, offering menu suggestions when asked and allowing us plenty of time to make our selections.
The cheesy garlic bread was tasty and the calamari cooked perfectly (not overdone and chewy as is so often the case), but the mozzarella salad was bland, despite its description of accompanying herbs and oil.
I was surprised to see no pizza on the menu and, as a vegetarian, had a very limited choice – not usually the case with Italian restaurants.
That said, I was thrilled with my choice of penne giardiniera, which was packed full of flavour with just the right balance of ingredients. I had been unsure about the fried spinach balls but they were not greasy and, instead, added a pleasing texture.
My guest was less impressed by the Milanese di pollo and, though I felt there were more exciting dishes to choose from, for the price, I would have expected one or two side dishes to be included.
The desserts were a true indulgence. The tiramisu was superb and definitely something I would order again while the dolce di cioccolato, though tasty, was so rich it beat even the likes of me.
Focaccia All’aglio - Chargrilled garlic bread with melted provolone cheese (£4.50)
Calamari Fritti - Crispy calamari, lightly floured and fried, served with a wedge of lemon (£5.95)
Insalata Di Mozzarella - Fresh Buffalo mozzarella, red and yellow cherry tomatoes with capers, rocket, fresh herbs and olive oil (£5.50)
Penne Giardiniera - Own giant Pugliese penne with courgette, chilli and fried spinach balls with Italian cheese and garlic (£8.75)
Milanese Di Pollo - Flattened chicken breast, breadcrumbed and fried, with rocket and baby gem (£11.95)
Spinaci - Spinach sauteed with garlic (£3.50)
Patate - Rosemary potatoes (£3.50)
Tiramisu - Savoiardi biscuits soaked in strong espresso coffee and coffee liquor with mascarpone and chocolate (£5.25)
Dolce Di Cioccolato - a warm chocolate pudding baked with almonds and Kahlua served with vanilla ice cream (£5.50)