August 14, 2010 1 Comment
I haven’t eaten at La Campagnuola for about 15 years. Mr Greedy, although he too has lived in the neighbourhood for around that length of time, has never eaten here. It has to be said that my meal, 15 years ago – what I can remember of it anyway – was not all that special. It was a boyfriend’s work Christmas party. I didn’t have a great time so maybe it was me that was off, rather than them. Still, that’s a long time to avoid a place.
Anyway, a friend of mine went here fairly recently and she liked it so when looking for somewhere local, it had been on my ‘italian places to try in Bristol’ list for a little while now. I guess I don’t tend to eat at Italian restaurants very often – there are a couple of exceptional italian restaurants in Bristol as well as a few grotty chains – but decent neighbourhood trattorias seem fairly thin on the ground. And that’s all we wanted really – a good plate of pasta, a bottle of wine and an informal atmosphere. And La Campagnuola perfectly fits that bill.
The greeting was very friendly and welcoming and the restaurant fuller than we expected for a Sunday evening. The music was predictably Italian Trattoria …’HEY MamBO! Mambo Italiano!..” but no worse for that, really. I wouldn’t know what music to pick, if I had my own place – I think I’d end up settling for silence – that or Radio4. Which probably means I’d be a bad choice to run a restaurant. I’d like Edith Piaf, but I feel that would only be a spot on choice in a french bistro, a dark one. Anyway, welcome fine, music fine, atmosphere fine. In a bit of an error of our part we found ourselves sitting opposite a group of what I originally mistook for language students. Noisy ones. But we can’t blame anyone but ourselves for that.
The menu is absolutely standard Italian Trattoria.This makes a restaurant extremely easy to review, as actually I don’t believe that decent Prosicutto, or a decent plate of lasagne are all that subjective. Starters, which included Mozzarella in Carrozza, Funghi Ripieni, Melon & Proscuitto and Antipasto were inexpensive, beginning at £3.50 and finishing at £6. I had breaded calamari with garlic mayo and the Mr. had Mozzarella in Carrozza. They were fine. Nothing groundbreaking but well cooked and the spicy tomato sauce that came with the Mozzarella, was fantastic. I moved onto Spaghetti Carbonara and Mr took the seafood stew. They were great – the Carbonara sauce was great – clingy and unctuous, with perfectly cooked pasta and the stew was also lovely, very saffron-y with lovely seafood. We chose well, undoubtedly, but ever time I saw or smelt a pizza go by, I did feel a pang of envy. I know I would never have finished a whole pizza by myself, but that’s what the doggy bag is for, no? Again, the mains were well priced and fairly Italian standard – pizzas, pastas fish and meat, good value again, starting at roughly £6 and topping out at £13 I think, with Mr’s stew being the most expensive thing I noticed. The wine was pretty cheap – which we took good advantage of.
Mr didn’t have any room for dessert, but I had a bit of room left for Tiramisu. It felt and tasted homemade, but for me it wasn’t a complete triumph, maybe a touch soggy.Or maybe my eyes were just a bit too big for my belly, and I wouldn’t have appreciated anything a great deal by then. But still, average Tiramisu usually is better than no Tiramisu in my eyes. We had a couple of Irish Coffees, which were ok. As usual, the staff seemed to get a collective case of waiter’s eye, when it came to getting us the bill, not noticing us then forgetting us. But they were great, really, very charming so completely easy to forgive.
I’m looking forward to going back soon and trying one of their pizzas – which I’m sure will be a pleasure to review, even if just to myself – and I think I’ll take my son next time as it will be lovely for him and completely the right place to take kids – somewhere adult but friendly, with plenty of quiet corners and very kid friendly food. I just need to lose..a .. few…pounds first.