Last month I visited Ask Italian for the first time when I met up with the biology foodie girls for a post-Christmas catch up! I really liked the chilled atmosphere and modern but welcoming feel of the restaurant. It also earned brownie points for it’s handy location, as it’s just off New Street and also down the road from both Bodega and The Lost and Found which would perfect for post-dinner cocktails.
However the service was just so gruelingly slow! We waited ages for our orders to be taken and later for dessert menus to be brought over, plus the food took quite a while to come out too (much to the annoyance of our hungry bellies!). It was only a Monday night, and although the restaurant was moderately busy, I dread to think what it would be like on a busy weekend!
We decided to skip starters to leave room for dessert, much to the delight of my sweet tooth! For my main I was really undecided between all of the tempting sounding pasta dishes. But in the end my craving for a cheesy, indulgent baked pasta dish won, and I went for their Lasagne – four layers of Italian egg pasta baked with Bolognese and tomato sauces, topped with béchamel sauce and Grana Padano cheese.
I loved that it had plenty of creamy, heavenly cheesy sauce; I never seem to be able to recreate that gooey, indulgent pool of cheese sauce surrounding the lasagne which most restaurants seem to be able to do – any top tips?? Whilst the Bolognese sauce was full of flavour, the pasta was cooked al dente, and it was just the right portion size. Overall it was a delicious and fantastic lasagne!
I ordered some Garlic Bread with Mozzarella on the side too, not realising I’d be getting a huge garlic pizza bread all to myself (oops!!). I know I have I big appetite, but even this was too much for me and I only managed a few slices; personally I thought it would have been nice if a slice of garlic bread had come with the lasagne anyway. It could have done with more garlic flavour and the mozzarella topping was nowhere to be seen! However it had a nice light and crispy base, and was perfect for dunking it into the cheesy sauce and mopping up the last bits of my yummy lasagne.
The girls opted for the Chocolate Amore Cake and Grande Gelato for dessert, both of which went down very well! Whilst I had the Almond, Plum and Pistachio Tart – warm almond cake on a biscuit base studded with dried plums, topped with pistachios and served with vanilla gelato. I’d taken a bit of a risk with my choice, having never tried plums before, as I just love pistachios. And luckily I really liked the sweet, juicy plums which studded the light, almond sponge. However the biscuit base was a little too crumbly and dry, and I would have personally liked more pistachios on top as they became lost in the dessert and didn’t really add anything. The vanilla gelato was really vanilla-ry and creamy though and made a great accompaniment to it. I probably wouldn’t order it again if I went to Ask, but it was nice enough and there’s plenty of other yummy sounding options on the menu to tempt me next time!
Despite the slow service, this didn’t deter from the nice atmosphere and yummy food at Ask Italian. Although it’s pretty similar, I’d definitely say I prefer it to Zizzi and Bella Italia; so along with Prezzo I feel like I’ve found another great Italian chain to go to.
Next on the list to try is a great independent, Italian restaurant in Birmingham – so please send over your recommendations!
Disclosure: We paid for our own meals, using a 50% off mains voucher too, and all opinions are honest and my own