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/

 

Mamma’s Classics at Frankie and Benny’s, Blackpool

When it comes to a great meal that is suitable when the kids are present, Frankie and Benny’s is always a good choice. The menu is wide ranging enough to suit all tastes, and children are catered for and made very welcome. On Saturday we were in Blackpool and went along to the Blackpool branch of the restaurant, which is situated just a short walk from the town centre on Festival Park. There we were well looked after by the manager Dan, and our waiter Lee, and enjoyed savouring some of the delights from the current menu.

When we entered the Blackpool branch, we were impressed with how each table was dressed. Our table had crayons and stickers for Joe, which certainly kept him occupied once food had been ordered. Joe knew exactly what he wanted for his main meal – he’s a big fan of the chicken bites and wanted chips with it. We decided to try a couple of the starters first. Pete opted for Caprese Salad, and myself and Joe decided to share a classic garlic pizza bread.

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The Caprese salad is slightly different that the traditional version with large slices of tomato and mozzarella.  This one is fresh mozzarella, torn and mixed with the smaller cherry tomatoes with added basil, rocket, salsa verde and olive oil. It is also served with freshly baked rosemary bread. The portion size is good and all the elements were really tasty. It’s ultimately a salad – it does what it says on the tin, but this is a particularly good one where the elements work really well together.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

The garlic pizza bread is perfect for sharing. The bread is nice and lightly toasted with plenty of buttery garlic making it soft and juicy. I shared this with Joe and it certainly got the thumbs up from my boy – I just about managed to grab a couple of slices!

Garlic Pizza Bread

Garlic Pizza Bread

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For our mains, myself and Peter had opted for the traditional Italian American dishes of the Mamma’s classics menu. My husband Pete is Italian, so these are the sorts of dishes he grew up with. This makes him a fairly critical judge when it comes to pasta – is it made like Papa used to make it? Peter opted for the F&B Meatballs, a classic dish comprising of spaghetti with juicy meatballs, bolognese and Neapolitan sauce,salsa rossa, fresh basil, torn mozzarella and served with a bread stick. Now, Pete has had this dish in the past, and although it has been enjoyed, a couple of complaints have always been made. The first is that the pasta has been overcooked, the second is that the dish just isn’t big enough. I’m pleased to say Frankie and Benny’s Blackpool had no complaints. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and with the delicious meatballs it made for a hearty, rustic style dish, In terms of portion size, this dish now comes in a large bowl, rather than a plate, making this a great portion size – in fact, Pete struggled to finish it.

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I also chose a pasta dish. I’m not a fan of tomato based dishes, so I love the fact that Frankie and Benny’s have other options. I went for one of the Al Forno bakes, which are pasta bakes that remain in the oven until they are bubbling. I love Cajun spices so chose the Cajun Chicken Bake, which is Chicken, rigatoni pasta, roasted red peppers and red onion, in a creamy Cajun cheese sauce, topped with Grana Padano and a crunchy cheese crumb. Again, this is a dish that has grown in size, and I was really impressed with how much chicken it contained. The Cajun sauce has a really creamy flavour, with that slight undercurrent of heat from the cajun spices. I also loved the edition of red onion and red peppers which added additional, but complimentary flavours to the dish.

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We chose two side orders, crunchy homemade slaw and Golden Fries. The homemade slaw was amazing, really chunky cuts of cabbage and carrot in a creamy dressing. It was another portion size that was made for sharing and with the golden fries it made the perfect lunchtime meal.

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Joe enjoyed his lunch too, but couldn’t leave without trying out the Sweetie Shop, a child’s feast of sweets, ice cream and pouring sauce. We had great fun with the popping candy too.

Sweetie shop

Sweetie shop

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Frankie and Benny’s Blackpool is a great alternative to fish and chips when you are visiting the seaside. We were well looked after by the friendly staff, especially our waiter Lee, and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of our lunch.

 

*We were provided with a £50 voucher for our food in return for a honest review.