Review

Simple Italian dining @ Del Villaggio

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Broad Street, and until my boyfriend and I became Unlimited members of Cineworld (at the Five Ways end of the street) a few years ago I’d not spent much time in that area of the city. In my mind the strip of bars and takeaways is more suited to the student population, and generally I’d much rather frequent the venues in and around Brindleyplace Place. 

Having said that, there are a few gems lurking at each end of the busy street. Pushkars is fabulous for Indian fine dining, and the newly opened Canal House offers picturesque views and decent food; both are found at the ICC end of Broad Street. Recently I finally had dinner at the other end, and I was delighted to discover Del Villaggio was located right next door to my cinema. Could this be the start of the beautiful friendship? Read on!

A family run restaurant promising authentic Italian food, Del Villaggio offers classic dishes at very reasonable prices. Knowingly a relaxed and comfortable restaurant, rather than a place for fine dining, it’s a light and airy restaurant that offers all the traditional Italian fare one would expect – plus some fish and meat dishes if you’d rather not induldge in pasta or pizza. 

On my visit I fell into the latter category and found the choice for those looking for a lighter meal decent. Don’t get me wrong, I’d happily dive head first into a steaming bowl of spaghetti carbonara any time, but with a wedding dress to wear (and a Las Vegas pool party to attend) I’m aware that’s not entirely practical for me right now. 

Our enthusiastic waitress, Giusy, was happy to talk me through the options available and advised me some could be tailored to suit my taste. This level of service continued throughout our meal actually; I honestly couldn’t fault the staff. 

Before our starters we kick started the meal with two glasses of Pino Grigio (£7.50) and Marinated Olives (£3.50); a selection of kalamata and queen green olives soaked in olive oil, garlic and parsley. The team then graciously offered to adapt the Tricolore Insalata main to form a starter for me (again, top service) whilst Ian opted for the Gamberi Piccanti (£7.25). 

My generous salad was comprised of juicy tomato slices, fresh basil leaves and creamy mozzarella, with a healthy slab of avocado drizzled in olive oil. The accompanying pesto was bright, fresh and full of flavour, thanks to the hefty amounts of garlic used. 

The prawns were plump and well cooked, and the herby butter sauce rich. Ian’s only gripe was that he’d have liked some additional garlic flavour but he enjoyed the dish. 

Time for mains, and my Roasted Salmon (£15.95) arrived as part of a colourful ensemble, including wilted spinach and a white wine and lemon sauce. The tender, flakey fish was well seasoned with cracked black pepper and cooked to pink perfection, and the accompanying sunshine sauce infused with citrus flavour provided a contrast in flavour. I couldn’t taste the wine in the sauce but enjoyed it nonetheless.

Ian’s Penne Con Pollo E Funghi (£10.95) was a decent sized pasta dish and had a good amount of the chicken and wild mushrooms. The penne pasta was still firm and held the thick topping well. The cream sauce was very rich although not overpowering, and having tried a mouthful myself I would agree it’s tasty. It wasn’t the most exciting looking dish though, and could benefit from some added thought regarding presentation.  

Having been so saintly for the other two courses I decided it would be a crime to leave without trying the Tiramisu (£5.25); a staple Italian pudding. A simple but totally indulgent coffee-flavoured dessert, especially with the extra chocolate, this large wedge somehow managed to be both incredibly light yet creamy and luscious. I probably should’ve felt guilty afterwards, but I just felt really happy. We shared this and found one piece served two very easily.

We ended the evening with two shots of lemoncello.. when in Rome, and all that. I enjoyed my visit and would make a return trip, especially when I no longer have a wedding dress to get in and I can induldge in some of the glorious looking pasta I saw other diners enjoying. The staff were attentive and helpful, and the service was swift without being rushed. 

We also discovered Cineworld card holders get 20% off so it’s highly likely we’ll be back. You can find the menu and more information on the website

(By the way, in case you were wondering, we went to see Kingsman: The Golden Circle at Cineworld in 4DX. It was unexpectedly excellent, although being thrown about in a chair for two hours after a three course meal isn’t something I’ll do again!)

Del Villaggio, 175 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1DT

*Disclosure: All opinions and photos are my own. I was invited a guest to try the food and my meal was complementary but I was not obliged to write a review*

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