Sunday, 23 August 2009

Valentino's, Bournemouth

Yesterday, my mum and I went to Bournemouth for the Bournemouth Air Show. The beach was packed, and the show was excellent. Instead of opting for the fast food found all along the seafront, we decided to hold out til the end of the show, and wander back into the town in search of a nice restaurant. Many places seemed more like bars than restaurants, but we eventually stumbled on a little round italian restaurant with a terrace outside. We hovered by the door, only to be told by Joe, the proprietor, that he was fully booked. However, being an italian, he moved around some tables, and endeavoured not to turn anyone away.

Usually, before eating out, I tend to research a bit more, and see what other people have thought - but this was spur of the moment dining. The menu was a decent size, and offered mussels (my favourite if you've not already realised) so seemed perfect to me. I chose the mussels (obviously) followed by tagliatelle carbonara, while my mum went for garlic bread with mozzarella followed by the cannelloni.

The mussels were served in a basic tomato sauce, but as the all you really want is the flavour of the mussels, this is perfect. They were decent sized, hardly any shell breakage (which is irritating when you come to devour the sauce at the end), and very tasty - 9/10. The garlic bread with mozzarella was less crispy than in most places as it had more of a middle to it, which my mum said good (I only ate the crispy bits as I stole bites when she wasn't looking!). The cannelloni was well filled, and tasty, and remained hot for ages despite eating outside where it was slightly chilly. My carbonara came and it was a huge portion, and left me feeling very full but comforted - there's nothing like a big plate of pasta when you've been walking around all day - 8/10.

The food was reasonably priced - £30 for all that, plus 3 drinks (non-alc), but it was really the atmosphere that added to the charm of this restaurant and the friendly banter between Joe and some of the diners showed that it was clearly popular with the locals.

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