A few weeks ago I was invited to review Strada in The Mailbox. Having visited every other Italian chain restaurant, Strada had surprisingly never come up on my radar before so I was keen to see what they had to offer.
Atmosphere and Service:
It was a beautiful sunny day when we visited (for once!) so it was a shame that the restaurant is located inside the building rather than on the canal, meaning we couldn’t enjoy the lovely weather this time. We went on a Thursday lunchtime and it was pretty quiet, so I’d like to revisit in the evening or on a weekend to see what the atmosphere is like as it was lacking much of one on our visit.
I couldn’t fault the service at all though! Our waitress was so friendly and chatty, making personal recommendations and showing a real passion for the new menu. The manager also took some time to chat to us about the new dishes too, recommended us wine to go with our food and ensured we were happy with everything during our meal. They really couldn’t have made us feel more welcome and comfortable here, making the meal extra special.
Food and Drinks:
Strada has a real focus on wine when it comes to drinks, with an extensive choice on offer. However I decided to order a glass of Bellini instead which was really refreshing and light.
Our starters followed closely behind.. All of the food came out super quickly, I’m talking within a matter of minutes for the starter and again for the mains. It might have been nicer to have a bigger break between the starters and mains to let our food go down, but equally it was nice not having to waiting around for our food forever.
I enjoyed my Calamari, which was really tasty. Whilst the portion size was huge, it was easy to make my way through it as the batter was so light and crispy.
Whilst the Caprese Salad – torn buffalo mozzarella, sliced vine tomatoes, fragrant basil and ripe avocado – was beautifully presented and again another light, fresh starter.
For my main I ordered the Pork Saltimbocca – Norfolk pork fillet with buttery sage and Prosciutto di Parma, served with mashed potatoes, green beans and a white wine sauce. This isn’t the typical sort of dish I’d pick at an Italian restaurant, but I fancied a change from pasta or pizza, and I’m glad I tried something new for once. The pork was huge but a little overcooked and tough. However the crunchy green beans, smooth, creamy mash and flavoursome sauce more than made up for it. Overall a nice meal, although it didn’t blow me away and I’m not sure if I’d rush back to order it again.
Typically my phone ran out of battery when it came to snapping a picture of my Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake – baked lemon ricotta cheesecake with tangy lemon, mascarpone and crushed amaretti biscuits – so I can’t show you just how big the portion size was! You definitely get your money’s worth here with quantity of food and it was a real struggle to fit in all 3 courses… I wasn’t a fan of the clotted cream it was served with, finding it too sharp for my personal taste. However I loved the cheesecake itself (and I’m a tough critic when it comes to them!) – it was smooth, creamy and the lemon flavour was subtle but still present, adding a nice refreshing tang.
What Strada was lacking in atmosphere when we visited (due to the time and day we went), it made up for in excellent service from friendly staff and tasty food. Whilst it hasn’t become my new favourite Italian chain restaurant to go to, I’d be happy to return if the occasion arose and would feel confident that I’d have a nice meal there.
Disclosure: I was invited to review Strada in The Mailbox and our food and drinks were complimentary. However I was not required to write a review and as always all opinions are honest and my own