A taste of Italy in Cheltenham: Bottelinos, restaurant review by Sam Dexter
Bottelinos on St James Street, Cheltenham, is a real treat if you want an excellent authentic Italian meal, coupled with excellent service, sophisticated décor, and a really relaxed evening.
We enjoyed a three course meal, all at good competitive prices and a really good bottle of house wine.
Now, I’m rather choosy about my wines, but on the advice of Andreas, the charming and effervescent owner I opted for a bottle of the house dry white, and it was really rather quaffable - so much so it took all my self control not to order a second.
Along with the great wine (have I mentioned that?) we had a first class authentic Italian meal that was served by efficient, friendly staff who positively tripped over themselves to make sure you had everything you could possibly want and more.
This is the sort of place I love – relaxed sophisticated décor, good food, and just really nice people. Perfect. So was the food. Perfect, I mean.
“Him indoors” had the whitebait from the specials to start. It was crisp as whitebait should be, but, refreshingly not drowned in batter or breadcrumbs. I opted for the deep fried Mozzarella, which can sometimes be a bit greasy, and the cheese rather chewy. Not the case at Bottelinos, oh no, it was gooey inside and lovely and stringy, while the breadcrumbs outside were light and not overpowering. Both starters were served with a decorative side salad, which had obviously been put together with some thought and care, not dumped on the side as an afterthought. All very good in my humble opinion.
Then it came to the mains. I have to confess I really struggled with this. Not because there wasn’t anything I liked, but because of the outstanding array of dishes I could have! Never have I seen such a comprehensive menu that made me want to order everything! Obviously I didn’t, that’s just greedy. So instead I chose the Pollo Milanese – breadcrumbed chicken breast served with fries and salad. Yes, it wasn’t pasta or pizza, but I wasn’t disappointed, oh no! The chicken was succulent, the breadcrumbs crunchy and melt in the mouth, while the chips were fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, and I had the biggest salad ever. A really simple well put together dish that was very welcome on a cold rainy Friday night.
“Him indoors”, went for the classic Italian dish – pasta. After struggling with the choice as I had, he thought that the “Orecchiette al Pollo” looked good on paper. It was even better in the bowl! A huge portion of steaming pasta arrived - it was rich and creamy with a subtle blend of flavours that made the whole dish rather moreish.
Stuffed almost to bursting (I’d say don’t eat all day before Bottelinos as the portions are huge) I almost decided not to have a pudding. Luckily I was saved by him indoors who suggested we share that classic Italian dessert, Tiramisu. It was utterly wicked. I mean sinful, it was that good. Rich, full of flavour and super yum, I could have eaten it over and over again.
I really like Botellinos. I haven’t been there in years, but I will go back. It was a welcoming environment that clearly appeals to a broad clientele, the place was packed by the time we left. Bottelinos cater for parties and have an upstairs section so are well placed to hold functions too.
Bottelinos restaurant is currently doing a lunchtime and early evening offer for any pizza or pasta for only £5.95 so go along and get yourself a bargain meal. If you enjoy Italian food as much as I do, you won’t be disappointed. Click here for more details.
For more information about Bottelinos restaurant in Cheltenham, along with opening times click here.
Cheltenham Bottelinos restaurant review by Sam Dexter
21 May 2011
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