A firm favourite on Birmingham’s thriving culinary scene, Laghi’s Deli is an award-winning and  authentic Italian restaurant, bar & delicatessen, located on Islington Row in Edgbaston.

Owner Luca discovered his passion for food whilst standing on a stool helping his mother make pasta at the age of four. Whilst his career took an alternative path, he always knew that if the opportunity to work with food came up, he would grasp it with both hands. Fast forward a number of years and Laghi’s Deli was born…

The 40-cover restaurant focuses on traditional, handmade Italian cuisine, created with the highest-quality ingredients - Luca spent many months finding the very best Italian suppliers. The menu has been designed to evoke memories of ‘old Italy’ but with a modern twist.

Following the friendliest of welcomes, my partner and I were shown to our table by the fantastic restaurant manager, Roberto, who served us for the duration of our visit. We were instantly hit with an array of beautiful aromas - and that, allied with the relaxed atmosphere and friendly welcome, made for an excellent first impression.

A glass of Italian prosecco in hand, we perused the mouthwatering menu. My attention was instantly drawn to the burrata served with parma ham and aubergine caviar.

Whilst waiting for our starters, we tucked into a bowl of the most delicious green olives and Laghi’s take on a bread course, which comprised of nothing more than a homemade pizza base topped with sea salt and rosemary sprigs - no cheese, no garlic, no sauce. The quality of the dough is such that the dish doesn’t require any further ingredients. I’m no stranger to good food, but I was genuinely surprised at how ridiculously tasty it was. Simplicity at its best.

Creamy burrata and salty parma ham is a heavenly combination, and Laghi’s offering didn’t disappoint. The addition of the aubergine caviar further elevated the dish, and I'd go so far as to say that it’s the most enjoyable buratta dish I've ever eaten.

Roberto recommended trying the mussels special as our second starter. Being huge seafood fans, we were more than happy to do so. Featuring a sizeable portion of mussels, clams and two large langoustines, the dish was served with a creamy garlic sauce. A welcome recommendation indeed.

On to the main courses. My choice of black ravioli stuffed with crab and mascarpone was divine. The pasta itself was cooked wonderfully and the sweet crab and creamy mascarpone filling was nothing short of perfection.

And that’s not all... To step things up a notch, the ravioli was served in a smoked provola fondue with an onion jam. If you like cheese (and crab, of course), order it! You won’t be disappointed.

Following another recommendation, our second main course came in the form of a monkfish spaghetti. As with our other main, the homemade pasta was exemplary. The meaty monkfish chunks were cooked to perfection, and the dish was completed by a good portion of nicely seasoned spaghetti, with garlic and extra virgin olive oil, and some sweet tomatoes.

Laghi’s boasts a dedicated pizza chef serving Neapolitan-style pizza made to order. Although our main courses were faultless, my partner and I couldn’t help but glare with envy every time we saw a pizza being delivered to a neighbouring table.  Options include: mozzarella, truffle, mushroom and mascarpone; tomato sauce, mozzarella, red radicchio, pancetta, balsamic vinegar and parmesan shavings; and tomato sauce, mozzarella, scamorza cheese, fresh chilli, ’nduja and jalapeño. They even offer a takeaway          service!

Although suitably full, we couldn’t leave without trying the tiramisu. The standard of the food was so high that we were confident Laghi’s take on the famous Italian dessert was going to be something special. 
We weren’t wrong. We were presented with what I can only describe as a large slab of the creamiest, most delicious tiramisu I've eaten in a long time, accompanied by a sweet and perfectly executed white chocolate and raspberry melt-in-the-middle fondant, and an exemplary espresso.

So many restaurants vow that their dishes are made with ‘the highest-quality ingredients’, but at Laghi’s Deli, they most definitely are. The food is truly exceptional and equals that of any I’ve eaten in Italy. Luca, Roberto and the rest of the team fully deserve every plaudit that comes their way, and the Italian gem is, without doubt, one of my newfound favourite restaurants. Bellissimo! ***** Lauren Foster

Image credit: The Gaztronome