Trying out #PrezzoLaFamiglia at NewSquare, West Bromwich

Italian food chain Prezzo recently launched a new concept on it’s already impressive menu. The #PrezzoLaFamiglia is a range of dishes that can be ordered in family sized sharing bowls, with more than enough food for a family of four to share. The dishes range from tomato based pasta, to creamy Cabonara, and the method of sharing from a large dish has a rustic charm that is very much the way Italian families share from the same bowl. I was asked to take my family along to my nearest Prezzo, at New Square West Brom, in order to try out the dishes for myself.

The New Square branch of Prezzo is a gloriously stylish building, complete with a spiral staircase. On the Friday night that we went, it was very busy and vibrant, a real destination. We were given a lovely window table, and our waitress was very informed on the special deal that you can have as part of the #PrezzoLaFamiglia meal deal. This is a fantastic offer where, for £30, you can have two garlic breads, two sides, four desserts and the La Famiglia family bowl of your choice. There are four choices of family bowl, Penne Arrabiata, Spaghetti Bolognese, Spaghetti Carbonara or Penne Alla Rusticana. It basically works out at £7.50 per person to feed a family of four – a total bargain.

We started with the garlic breads, these are not the pizza style variety, but individual style, and can come with cheese or without. We opted for the cheese version which was satisfying and very tasty. For our sharing bowl, we went for the Penne Alla Rusticana which is Seasoned chicken, pancetta, peppers and  rosemary in a creamy pomodoro sauce. I thought that was would be a good sharing option as it was not too spicy (no chilli in the recipe), and the addition of chicken would make it a good choice for myself and Joe, neither or whom like bolognase or meatballs.

The Penne Alla Rusticana truly is an enormous bowl of food. My hubby has a huge appetite, but even he was shocked at just how much chicken and pasta you get. Joe is not generally a pasta fan, but the combination of the mild flavour, the creaminess of the sauce and the succulent pieces of chicken were all a big hit with him. He also liked the fact that you can serve yourself, sometimes enormous portions on a plate can put a child off eating – they feel they have no chance of finishing, but being able to serve yourself means you can have a smaller portion, and then another portion if you are still hungry.

From an adult perspective, this was a little blander than I would normally choose, I would’ve liked more garlic or chilli, but totally appreciate that this has to be suitable for all palettes, including young children. That said, it was perfectly cooked, with pasta just soft enough for my taste, and the creamy sauce with the smokey pancetta was very pleasant. We couldn’t finish it all, with even the hubby having to admit defeat.

 

Of course, the best dessert to follow from a huge bowl of pasta is ice cream , or gelato for that authentic Italian edge. The chocolate and sea salt gelato was wonderfully rich, with a dark chocolate flavour. The traditional ice cream was a creamy delicious treat. Suffice to say, the bowls were quickly cleared (I would’ve licked mine clean, but, you know, we were in a restaurant, had to have some decorum!).

We really enjoyed our experience of Prezzo La Famiglia and think it is good family value.

“This post is an entry for the BritMums #PrezzoLaFamiglia Challenge, sponsored by Prezzo. https://www.prezzorestaurants.co.uk/LaFamiglia/

 

Afternoon tea week at Caffe Concerto

Last week was Afternoon tea week, seven days designated to enjoying all the ‘dolce’ delights you can find on that traditionally most English of all sweet and creamy courses.  I enjoyed my afternoon tea at Caffe Concerto, part of the elegant Italian chain who specialise in exquisite looking cakes and desserts and real Italian Gelato. The whole experience was delightful, although if you are currently counting the calories, it may be a place best avoided, as the cakes and pastries are truly hard to resist.

DSCN2864

Caffe Concerto, Birmingham is situated in Grand Central.  The concession is part of the wider food offering which dominates the centre of Grand Central, and is the perfect stop off for a sweet treat after enjoying a morning of shopping. I often have a comfort break at Caffe Concerto, as I love the beautiful ‘fin de siecle’ decor, as well as the truly scrumptious Custard slices (so big, you may need to eat them with a knife and fork). I had never tried the afternoon tea offering until this point, but as all the cakes look so beautiful, I knew it would be good. I wasn’t disappointed.

I flouted traditional by opting for a Vanilla Latte with my tea (it wasn’t quite afternoon and I never do tea before midday). The latte was large, creamy and flavoursome and is definitely something I would order again. And then came the main event.

This is an afternoon tea that looks incredible. The presentation is superb – I wondered whether I could fit the glorious pink cake stand into my bag, it was just so pretty. The range of sandwiches was good, with cream cheese and cucumber, salmon, egg mayonnaise and cheese and pickle amongst the choices. All the sandwiches were deep filled which I was pleased to see – there is nothing worse than an empty, floppy sarnie in my view.

DSCN2859

The scones were enormous, and were soft and moist, perfect with the traditional strawberry jam and clotted cream. I was so pleased that it was clotted cream, so many places seem to be using a whipped cream which just isn’t the same. The scones are almost a meal in themselves and I couldn’t fault them. And, in case you are wondering, I am a jam first girl!

DSCN2861

DSCN2865

And then it was on to the petit fours. The macarons were wonderful with the addition of real blackcurrents, whilst two delicious and attractive mini cheesecakes left me spoilt for choice. The strawberry was deep in real fruit flavour, whilst the chocolate had the welcome addition of nuts that stopped it being overly sweet – this can often equal sickly in my experience. The lemon mousse dessert had that element of zest that again pulled it from the realms of the ordinary – it sets off tastebuds with the tang.

DSCN2860

13902801_992625310835570_525315842413932666_n

13920951_992625257502242_5054453079923076004_n

Caffe Concerto may not be the first place you think of for traditional English afternoon tea, but if you try it, you will not be disappointed – it is pretty near perfect.

DSCN2863

 

Caffe Concerto  MK 7, Grand Central,, Stephenson St, Birmingham B2 4XJ Telephone – 020 7494 4860

 

Enjoying a perfect Father’s Day

Today I am turning the blog over to my husband Peter, who has been invited by Health and Safety training experts SHEilds to talk about what makes a perfect Father’s Day.

This year will be quite a different Father’s Day for me, as I will be spending it in sunny Portugal, hopefully on a glorious beach, or splashing around in the pool with Joe and Em. And, in a way, this is a pefect example of what Father’s Day should be like, because it should be an opportunity for quality time with those you love.

Best photo bomb ever - with my dad and Joe.

Best photo bomb ever – with my dad and Joe.

A perfect Father’s Day would start with a lie-in. I have to get up early most days for work as I often have a distance to travel, and the horrific M6 to negotiate. During football season, I don’t get the chance for a lie-in either, as the weekend means training and matches. But June is slightly quieter, and I do try to catch up on sleep on Sunday’s, so a lie-in, with maybe tea and toast in bed, would be a lovely start to a perfect day.

On the subject of food, dining out is essential for Father’s Day. Emma, by her own admission, isn’t much of a cook, and actually hates cooking, so finding somewhere family friendly that suits everyone, is essential. We tend to invite the whole family,  including Emma’s mom and dad, my dad, Emma’s brother and sister and their partners and child, and even Emma’s brother-in-law’s parents. It is a massive group and a popular venue has been Frankie and Benny’s who actually let dads eat for free on Father’s Day. I love Pasta with meatballs, or a spicy Calzone – good, hearty Italian food that satisfies the stomach and the taste buds.

10463961_596156040482501_2502262472198800000_n

10409778_596156050482500_5358575052597545747_n

With my dad and Emma's dad.

With my dad and Emma’s dad.

 

After lunch, it really depends on the weather. A trip to the park with a football is Joe’s favourite way to spend the day, so this is the sunny option. On a cooler day, a Cinema trip, complete with popcorn and pick and mix is another pleasing way to spend the afternoon. This year, with the Euros in full flight, it will be football all the way.

Ultimately, Father’s Day is about enjoying the company of those you love most, and being thankful for your own dad, and the chance to be a dad. I’m looking forward to spending every minute of it with my little boy.