In the middle of the week I found myself in town running a few errands and hooking up with someone for a quick lunch meeting. With all that had been going on in Manchester it was nice to spend a lunch hour chatting about anything else other than current events, so I took the work chat and ran with it.
In light of having just 45 minutes spare, and all of the outside space my other choices of restaurants taken due to the sunny weather, we decided on Bella Italia. On New Street, this is part of the wider chain of Italian inspired restaurants and is somewhere I used to eat in a lot when I first moved to Birmingham. Familiarity etc.
Previously I’ve enjoyed carb heavy meals here but this time I chose the Insalata Verde Chicken (£10.99) from the salad section of the main menu, which also happens to be one of the few “Under 600 calories” dishes Bella Italia offer. I’m probably one of the few people that would end up in any sort of Italian restaurant ordering lettuce instead of pasta but sometimes a lighter lunch is more favourable.
A grilled chicken breast was combined with avocado, green beans, peas, cucumber, various mixed leaves and spring onion to form the salad base, with a fresh salsa verde and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds.
Whilst the portion of chicken was decent enough, I couldn’t help but feel it was a little overcooked; the texture felt quite dry. The presentation wasn’t particularly inspired either.
Having said that, the salsa verde tasted zingy and fresh, and the dish on the whole was quite flavoursome. I was offered freshly milled black pepper which was great (often servers don’t even ask) and with the 50% discount code I’d found earlier that day it was a very reasonable lunch for £5.50.
My dining partner those the Classic Margherita (usually £8.29) but ordered from the lunch menu, making his pizza £6.99.
The base was crispy and light with a fragrant tomato sauce, although he commented it could benefit from a more generous helping of mozerella, and these cheese was almost overcooked. The fresh basil slivers were a nice touch and added some colour and freshness to the pizza.
The venue itself is quite nice, and when I came in to get a mid week table at 1:30 there was still plenty of room left. It’s a shame that the outside seating area doesn’t really see much sunlight, but that’s obviously due to the positioning of the restaurant, not through lack of trying I’m sure.
As far as venues going for a cheap city centre lunch there are much worse places than Bella Italia. It’s not exactly reinventing the wheel but the staff are super polite and attentive and there is lots of choice. You can usually find discount vouchers online, and I found mine this time via Voucher Codes. You just have to sign up to Bella’s subs list – easy!
Bella Italia, 102 The Charters, New Street, B2 4HS
*This post is not affiliated with any brand/company mentioned within. All views are my own*