One of the many tearooms we visit on our cycle rides is ‘The Anvil‘ (we know it as Fred’s) in Bishop’s Waltham, always a friendly welcome and they do delicious cake and many choices of coffee. Next door is an Italian restaurant called Piccola Roma and my husband and I always say that we must pay them a visit as it looks really nice but we never seem to get round to doing so. Saturday evening we decided to try it and we weren’t disappointed. We were warmly welcomed and sat by the very large window which had beautiful flowering orchids and peace plants on display. Music played in the background from Art & Garfunkel and The Eagles to Italian opera. We were given some bread and a bowl of olive oil & balsamic vinegar. I would have liked a little more bread as it looked rather tiny to be in such a big basket and wasn’t an awful lot, but it was fresh and something to nibble on whilst waiting for our starters. I ordered a large glass of a very nice Valpolicella and we had a jug of tap water on the table too. My husband enjoyed a small bottle of Peroni.
I ordered Funghi Farciti for my starter which was ‘oven baked portabello mushrooms stuffed with cheese, tomato and garlic’. This was served with fresh salad leaves with an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing. It took a while to arrive but I was told of this in advance so it was not a problem.
We decided to share our main pasta dishes as there were a few on the menu we liked the look of and couldn’t decide. The Tortiglioni ai tre peperoni e guanciale is ‘tubes of pasta with mixed peppers and bacon’ and was very tasty.
We both decided that this was our favourite of the two. Tortiglioni alla Boscaiola is ‘tubes of pasta with a bacon, mushroom, pea & cream sauce’. It wasn’t smothered in cream, just enough to coat the pasta. I think the mushrooms were ‘brown’ mushrooms which can be tastier than the normal white mushrooms. Anyhow, I just love all mushrooms so they were perfect for me.
Around the white freshly painted walls were black & white photos of Italian comedian actors, Antonio DeCurtis – also known as Toto – and Alberto Sordi. The floors were of a light wood and the restaurant was softy lit with ceiling downlights. The restaurant was full both upstairs and down by 7.45 and there were just three waitresses. We were left for over 30 minutes before we were asked for the dessert menu but I’m sure if we caught their eye they would have obliged, we weren’t in any hurry and sometimes it’s nice not to feel rushed and to wait between courses.
Piccola Roma is a family owned restaurant and also do take-away pizzas. There were posters advertising a wine-tasting/anti-pasti evening in September which sounds rather good for £10 and they run special offers ie., early-bird 2 for 1 pizzas on certain days and hold Italian speaking lessons too.
We both ordered tiramisu for dessert. We were disappointed not to see panna cotta on the dessert menu as we love that. But the tiramisu was very nice, soaked in Kahlua – but not too much, just the right amount – with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and half a strawberry for decoration. It was very fresh and yummy and worth waiting for.
We had an espresso to finish our meal which came with an After Eight mint chocolate and after we had that the waitress very kindly came over with a bottle of Limoncello and offered us a glass each. She must have read my mind as I wanted a Limoncello but Geoff said I had loads at home at the back of a cupboard untouched for years – he was right of course, there is.
Well, it’s definitely somewhere that we shall return to that’s for sure. The waitresses were all very friendly, there was a nice relaxed atmosphere and the food was delicious. I have told my Italian friend that we must visit Piccola Roma together as soon as she returns from her homeland.
Above the big window where we sat was this quote “One of the very nice things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and direct our attention to eating” by Luciano Pavarotti which I thought was a very good quote.
Living life, loving cake