“Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride” says a sign at Italian restaurant Kia’s Pastaria and this place lives up to its motto.
When we arrived one Saturday night the place was busy but the staff were still welcoming and looked after us well.
It seems like they already have a faithful following on this area of Abbeydale Road, near the bottom of Woodseats Road, where previous attempts to open a restaurant have come and gone.
My partner Matthew had been tempted to try it first for lunch with his boys as it’s refreshingly child- friendly. Under 10s eat free Tuesday to Thursday before 6.30pm and all day Sunday.
Next was the adults’ turn and we were shown to a table near the open kitchen.
The arrival of a bowl of olives as we looked at the menu was the first of many little touches.
We went for a bottle of the house red, which was a good, smooth Merlot for a bargain restaurant price of £12.50. The wine list is interesting or you can have Italian beer instead.
The menu is Italian but there are no pizzas listed because it’s a pastaria, concentrating on pasta. The menu does say you can ask for one.
My starter, arancini al funghi (£5.95), is an Italian classic, balls of breadcrumb-coated risotto with porcini mushrooms and melted baby mozzarella in the middle with a smoky tang of truffle paste to add interest.
It’s fantastic comfort food, with a good Neapolitan sauce adding a fresh, slightly sweet tomatoey flavour.
Matthew’s starter was like all good Italian food, simple but packed with flavour using just a few good ingredients.
Baked peaches topped with Parma ham (£5.95)was a fabulous mixture of sweet and meltingly soft with salty and crispy. His verdict: “Lush”.
For main courses, we both chose off the specials board. My dish was sea bass with seafood (£16.20), two beautifully pan-cooked fillets of fish surrounded by lots of mussels, prawns and baby calamari, all in a garlic-infused olive oil. Cracking.
Matthew had two succulent lamb loin chops and potatoes (£16.50), surrounded with a lovely jus. The slightly chewy meat had great flavour.
Vegetable side dishes included intensely flavoured carrots and French beans.
We hardly needed the complimentary garlic bread that arrived as well.
Portions are generous and it’s hard to leave this food on the plate, so we copped out and shared pudding.
If you’re a big desserts fan save room, judging by this effort, as fine a tiramisu as I’ve tasted, here or in Italy.
Our bill came to £67.05, including coffees, for a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing evening but you could knock a few quid off by sticking to pasta.
It’s cash only, by the way.
THREE MORE TO CHOOSE FROM
1. Caffe Piazza, Church street, City Centre
2. Kitos, Chesterfield Road, Woodseats
3. BB’s, Division Street, City Centre