Bella Italia Mansfield opened in November 2015, it’s situated on Mansfield’s newly developed Leisure Park retail park. Myself and my partner had a table booked for 7.30pm on a Saturday night, a lovely time for a meal, but not a great time to find a parking space! The car park was packed with other restaurant go-ers and also visitors to the adjacent cinema so expect to be searching for a parking space.

The interior is a lovely mix of 50’s retro with the trendiness of exposed wood that seems to be popular with new restaurants at the moment. The restaurant was as busy as to be expected on a Saturday night, the front of house hostess showed us to our table, a lovely table in the corner by the window with a view of the whole restaurant, including the open kitchen. The small seating area outside looked delightful and I can just imagine it in the summer with the large window fully open and people enjoying their al fresco dining.

 Our server was called Nat, she took our drink order and we asked for an extra few minutes to choose our food, to which she happily obliged. Nat came back as promised after a few minutes which was good as sometimes you can ask a server to come back in a few moments but you might not see them for another half an hour – thankfully this was not the case.

For our starters we ordered the ‘Rosemary and Sea Salt Pizza Bread’ and the ‘Arancini Funghi’. The pizza bread came out served on a wooden board and was a huge sharing portion. The bread was delicious, full of flavour and not at all greasy. Due to the generous sprinkles of sea salt on the top you could have done with a choice of dip to go with the pizza bread as it did leave you a bit thirsty. The Arancini Funghi were tasty mushroom risotto balls, cooked perfectly and served with rocket leaves and a pomodoro sauce. So light and non-greasy, a perfect sized starter served in a cute miniature wire basket that I wanted to take home (I didn’t).

Our main courses arrived pretty quickly after our starters were cleared away – which was fab as we were looking forward to more delicious food. My partner ordered the ‘Filletto di Spagola’ – sea bass fillet served with roasted new potatoes, red onions, green beans, black olives and plum tomatoes topped with a fresh herb and garlic salsa verde. It was presented beautifully and I was assured that it tasted as good as it looked. My choice for the main course was the ‘Pollo Millanese’ – chicken breast coated in Parmesan breadcrumbs served with green beans and roasted new potatoes. The dish was a generous sized butterfly chicken breast fillet which was crisp and golden on the outside and juicy on the inside.

The green beans were not overly spectacular, but they were cooked perfectly, just the right amount of crunch fresh cooked vegetables should have. The roasted new potatoes were nice and fluffy in the middle, they were like mini jacket potatoes, I would have quite happily munched a few more of those. I think the dish could have done with a lovely sauce to compliment it, I did look on the menu to see if there was an option to order a sauce as an extra but I couldn’t see anything. Our server did ask us if we wanted any condiments for our meals but we declined at the time – if you go for the Pollo Millanese I would recommend that you ask for a sauce just to break up the dryness of the crumb – this didn’t ruin my overall enjoyment of the dish.
We were asked if we wanted to try a dessert – of course we said yes! There were lots of lovely sounding things to choose from. We went for the ‘Limoncello Meringue Pie’ – a deliciously light and juicy favourite. The lemon was just right, not too sweet nor too tart. The small topping of meringue was just enough sweetness to compliment the zesty lemon flavour and the pastry was beautifully crumbly and not too stodgy.

A satisfying sized portion for the end of your meal. I had the create your own sundae – you can choose 1, 2 or 3 scoops of various flavours of ice cream and lots of topping choices. I plumped for 3 scoops – vanilla, chocolate and my favourite – mint choc chip. I topped it with caramel sauce, whipped cream and chocolate beans a.k.a smarties. A delicious ice cream sundae, the ice cream tasted luxurious and you got a generous amount of toppings, I love that you can make it your own way. I was very happily full.

img_6975-2.jpegOur server Nat was lovely and attentive throughout the evening without being too overbearing. She was friendly and down to earth, not just with us but each table she looked after. Bella Italia in Mansfield has a lovely relaxed atmosphere and, even though it is in a busy location, you don’t feel rushed to hurry up and finish so they can get the next lot of customers in. All of the staff we encountered were professional and friendly. This is a lovely place to dine out, it can only get more popular. I would definitely go back in the not too distant future.