Restaurant Review – Strada
As we navigated our way through Strada’s extensive array of food stuffs, we were pleasantly surprised with the unique dishes on offer compared to other Italian chains such as Zizzi, Prezzo, and Cafe Uno, etc, whose menus tend to be fairly similar, covering all the Britalian faves of chicken caeser salad, lasagne, spag bol… Strada’s courses just seemed a little more devoted to cultural authenticity.
Their traditional starters ranged from ‘Caprese’; a fairly straightforward basil, mozzarella and tomato salad, to the more elaborate ‘Antipasto Misto’ – a platter of Parma ham, Speck and salami with mozzarella, vine ripened tomatoes and chargrilled ciabatta. The equally well prepared, but, perhaps less exotic, choice of desserts included tiramisu, warm melting chocolate cake, and your typical vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice creams or lemon sorbet.
Main courses seemed to cover everything Italian, from pasta to pizza, salad to side order, vegetarian to all-in meat. As everything is freshly made, asking for a unique twist to a dish to satisfy your taste buds ought not to be a problem!
The only negative to this was that I then took forever to decide on my dinner! Fortunately, our knowledgeable and attentive waitress was there to help! I consequently hang my head in shame as I admit that, despite all the assistance and the mouth watering menu, I ended up devouring a Rossa pizza, which is essentially a pepperoni! However, this particular pepperoni pizza was cooked in a traditional Italian wood burning oven, and overflowed with fantastic flavours, of red pepper, garlic, oregano, caramelised onion (you don’t get that at Jaspers!) and a touch of chilli which gave it a nice bit of heat.
The Caprini pizza (goats cheese, Italian roasted tomatoes, mozzarella and artichoke hearts), however, was a bit of a let-down. Unexpectedly, it was pretty bland, and quite dry. But, if you really like the sound of goats cheese pizza, perhaps ask for an extra, more flavoursome topping as the staff were very accommodating to similar such requests. For example, doubling up on a starter, or ‘antipasto’ to have as a main dish was no problem, and the Gnocchi alla Bava (white wine and cheese sauce) was beautifully tasty, albeit very filling! Bear in mind that the pizzas are large, so sharing isn’t a bad idea. You’ll also have a bit of room for dessert!
Price wise, a bottle of Italian house white or rosé costs £13.95, whilst the house red will immediately set you back £16.95. Our three mains, shared starter and bottle of house rosé was roughly £40 (including a 20% student discount) which isn’t too bad when you consider the quality of the food, the high standard of service and the elegant but somehow homely surroundings. The seating plan does look as though it might get quite crowded on a busy evening though, so if elbow wars with the adjacent table are going to be an issue, it might be an idea to request a spacious seating area.
Being just opposite the cathedral gates, Strada is an ideal rest stop to bring any visiting relatives after a day spent touring Canterbury’s hotspots. Fingers crossed they’ll even pay! Visit www.strada.co.uk for more info or reserve a table on 01227 472 089.
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