Where are we going? To eat? Yeah!! – Miss J, 2
This weekend, we visited ASK Italian in Nottingham city centre on a mission to #respectthepasta…
In case you don’t know, ASK is currently on a mission to get people doing pasta the justice it deserves. We’ll be carrying out a few missions to rediscover pasta done right, and it all started with a trip to our local branch for a three course meal – there are worse ways to spend a Sunday, right?
We were shown to our seats at the front of the bright, sunlit restaurant and placed our orders. While we waited, the kids were given crayons to colour in their menus – always a winner and it stopped them getting too restless. Later on, the friendly staff also brought balloon shapes (a sword and a tortoise) for them, which went down a storm and helped make us all feel welcome.
Our starters came quickly and I had the Bruschetta to start – a thin toasted white bread with a combination of fresh and sundried tomatoes, finely chopped and very lightly dressed, with just a sprinkling of finely grated ricotta salata to finish. A very delicate take on this Italian staple. I very much enjoyed it.
Mark had the Panzerottine – dough balls filled with either pepperoni or chopped chillis and fontal cheese, dusted with polenta and served with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip. A couple of these were suffering from slightly raw dough, which is a shame, but overall they were delicious and smelled wonderful.
The kids had the set kid’s menu starter, Vegetable Crudities with Garlic Bread Sticks and Dip. Both kids thoroughly enjoyed dipping the crunchy fresh carrots, cucumber and warm garlic bread sticks into the tomatoey, creamy dressing. Definitely a thumbs up.
For main, I had the Fettuccine con Verdure – flat ribbon pasta with courgettes, peas, roasted tomatoes, green beans and spinach, seasoned with chilli and garlic, and topped with olive tapenade. It looked beautiful, the vegetables were fresh with bite and the pasta was cooked to perfection. I genuinely enjoyed my meal, but I did feel like there should have been more veg and there was quite a lot of water in my bowl, which diluted a lot of the flavour, especially towards the end.
I don’t know if it was supposed to be this way, but I’ll soon find out as the recipe is in ASK Italian recipe book, which I have as part of my #respectthepasta journey. I can’t wait to try making it myself.
Mark had the Linguine Carbonara – crispy pancetta in a rich creamy sauce with pecorino and Grana Padano cheeses. This was pretty much perfect – the sauce was delicious with just enough to coat the pasta and not a jot more. Again, the pasta had bite and texture. A really top notch dish.
Miss J had Spaghetti Pomodoro – spaghetti in a plum tomato sauce, with fresh Santos tomatoes and garlic, finished with basil. She loved it and ate a reasonable amount for a girl who never finishes her mains. I thought it tasted wonderful – a great balance of tomato and garlic, not too overpowering for young tastebuds and all served with a child sized knife and fork – a really great touch.
JD had Pollo E Prosci pizza, which is supposed to be topped with mozzarella cheese, tomato, chicken breast and ham, but JD is only really willing to eat one flavour combination when it comes to pizza, so we swapped the chicken for peppers and he was very happy, eating every last morsel of his sensibly sized main.
On to pudding and I just couldn’t resist the Almond, Plum and Pistachio Tart – almond cake on a biscuit base studded with dried plums, topped with pistachios and served warm with a scoop of vanilla gelato. Oh my word. Just wow. This is possibly one of the nicest desserts I have ever had. The texture of the sponge, the sweet, slightly caramelised pistachio top, the bursts of flavour from the plums, the coolness of the ice cream – there is nothing bad I can say about this dish.
Mark had the Italian Cheesecake – a baked Italian ricotta cheesecake on a generous biscuit base, served with fresh raspberries and a scoop of raspberry sorbet. Forget intense, creamy cheesecake with a dense, smooth texture, this was super delicate, fluffy cheesecake with the gentlest flavour of ricotta followed by lemon. A very pleasant dessert, though not what you’ll be expecting if you’re used to a big slice of New York’s finest.
The kids had chocolate ice cream with optional sprinkles. Not at all the cheap stuff you get from the supermarket, this was rich, thick ice cream – already slightly melted when it reached our table. JD wolfed his down but Miss J couldn’t manage much – I think she was a bit full by then.
We washed it all down with plenty of drinks between courses…
In total, for seven drinks, four starters, four mains and four desserts, we paid £67.10. I think that’s pretty reasonable for a good quality three-course meal for four and we would certainly go again, although I might chose a different main.
And as it was Mother’s Day, the staff handed me a pack of these lovely Cocoa Torcetti biscuits to take away.
If you’re in Nottingham city centre any time soon, do check it out. It’s a great place to enjoy an excellent meal.
ASK Italian, Nottingham
Address: 6a Chapel Bar, Nottingham NG1 6JQ
Tel: 0115 958 2815
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11:30 to 23:00, Sun 11:30 to 22:00
Disclosure: we were given a voucher to review the menu. No payment was received.