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An authentic family run Italian restaurant and offering ambience and an excellent service to give you the very best dining experience.
82 Chapel Ash,
Telephone: 01902 427555
Established in 2001, Bella has been an integral part of the Wolverhampton food scene for many years now. The fashionable eatery, situated on Chapel Ash, is only a short walk from the city centre.
On arrival there, we were warmly greeted by the very smartly dressed staff and quickly shown to a window seat. The interior is sharp, clean and contemporary, the muted greys of the walls a perfect backdrop to the dark sheen of the tables sparkling with steel and glassware.
While perusing the menu, we were brought a beautifully presented amuse bouche of crispbread with crayfish cocktail - a tantalising taste experience which served to heighten our expectations of the food to come.
To start, I chose from the specials menu sun-dried Girasole Pasta filled with white fish and finished with a cherry tomato and seafood fumet. These sunflower-shaped ravioli were cooked to perfection. Firm to the bite - al dente, as the Italians would say - the pasta envelopes burst with the fresh flavour of the fish within, the fumet and cherry tomatoes working well to enhance the flavours.
My dining partner opted for Beef Carpaccio with capers, basil mayo and a rocket and parmesan salad, served with a homemade crisp bread. The dish was beautifully presented and proved to be a real ‘melt in the mouth’ experience. The complex flavour of the aged beef was perfectly complemented by the basil mayo and the sharpness of the capers.
For me, the test of an Italian restaurant is in the quality of the lasagne, and it was on the specials menu I found a contemporary twist on this staple of Italian dining. Bella’s lasagne was layered with slow-braised oxtail, topped with gratin and finished with a beef tomato sauce. Once the crisp gratin topping was breached, the softness of the lasagne yielded easily to my fork. The oxtail contained within was flavoursome and tender, the beef tomato sauce wonderfully rich.
My partner selected the Calfs Liver served with a basil mash and a side of green salad. Served pink, as is a must, the dish was reported to be ‘sublime’.
For dessert, I opted for a classic Crème Brulee. It came with a light, crisp, sugar topping which easily gave way to the soft vanilla creaminess below. The flavour was good, but the texture had curdled somewhat.
Now, the test of an Italian restaurant for my partner is in the quality of the tiramisu; so that is, of course, what he ordered.
Looking quite elegant presented in a tall glass, the dessert came without the traditional finger biscuits. This served only to improve the dish; its texture was smooth and velvety, its flavours perfectly balanced. Indeed, it turned out to be the best tiramisu my partner had ever had.
Throughout the evening the staff were extremely professional but friendly and approachable too. The restaurant itself wasn’t overly busy (it was a Tuesday evening) and consequently the atmosphere was somewhat muted. With this in mind, we felt the lighting could have been brought down a touch, to lend a warmer, more intimate feel to the evening.
The all-round quality of food and service will not only bring us back to Bella but also ensure the restaurant remains a highlight of Wolverhampton’s ever-developing dining-out scene.
Review by Ted Finlay