We were running a few minutes late after going for a few drinks nearby and we were immediately put at ease and given a very warm welcome by restaurateur Attilio Sergi, who seated us by the window affording us a great view of the restaurant and the street outside. The restaurant is split across two floors, with a sweeping bar area which includes a display counter of delicious foods with shelves of delectable wines beyond.
Friday evening service was in full swing and a buzz of conversation filled the air along with tantalising aromas of Italian food. We sipped chilled Prosecco as we decided what to order from the extensive menu which offers an impressive array of traditional Italian dishes. As always I was drawn to ordering the Fornarina al Formaggio, garlic bread with cheese, but our friendly waiter extolled the virtues of Fornarina Ligure, Garlic Bread with Tomato and Pesto so he kindly asked the kitchen to make us a half and half version. The bread was divine. The cheese topped half was rich and moreish whilst the other half was light and refreshing with a traditional Italian flavour.
As a starter I chose Melanzane Parmigiana, aubergines baked with tomato, Mozzarella, Parmesan and garlic. This was simply divine and one aspect I love about Italian cuisine is that such a wealth of amazing flavours can come from so few ingredients. It is incredible to think that a dish simply of baked aubergine slices, topped with a rich pomodoro sauce and mozzarella can translate in to such complex flavours. Meanwhile, my dining companion had the Peperone Ripieno; baked Sweet Pepper, filled with Risotto, spicy sausages, Mozzarella and served with tomato sauce baked with rice and Italian sausage.
For the main course we both decided on fresh artisan pasta, for me there was no contest in what to order as the Tortelloni Burro e Salvia sounded delightful. These were homemade Tortelloni filled with ricotta and spinach served with creamy mozzarella, butter and Sage Sauce and Parmesan. This was everything I love about pasta in one sumptuous dish. A hearty portion of lighter than air Tortelloni which gave way to a flavoursome ricotta and spinach filling, whilst plenty of melted mozzarella, butter and sage sauce and Parmesan shavings gave this dish even more levels of decadence. Wow, talk about comfort food!
Tortelloni Burro e Salvia
Penne Arrabbiata, with tomato sauce, chilli and garlic
My dining companion debated over a wealth of menu options, before settling on the Penne Arrabbiata, with tomato sauce, chilli and garlic. Naturally, I tried his dish too which had a pleasantly spicy kick from the chilli and garlic sauce and a sweet tang from the vine cherry tomatoes and peppers. Both of these dishes were wonderfully traditional and evocative, and if I had closed my eyes I could have almost felt the warmth of the Tuscan sun on my face. We chatted to our host about the slow pace of life in Italy, the fact that lunches are often a much longer affair there than they are in the UK and how much Trattoria 51 aims to recreate this unhurried and leisurely style of dining. I think they have more than succeeded, as the restaurant embodies a welcoming atmosphere which combined with the delicious food only makes you want to linger and take your meal slowly.
As the time for dessert arrived, we were even more spoiled as we were presented with a special Chefs dessert sharing platter which gave us a taste of a selection of the various sweet delights on offer at Trattoria 51. The large selection included a nutty and rich Torta Caprese, traditional apple tart, handmade biscuits with a jam heart, lemon and lime posset with shortbread biscuit, fresh raspberries and coulis (which the owner revealed his secret recipe for!), homemade tiramisu and wonderful freshly baked biscuit bombes which were reminiscent of Viennese whirls. The lemon and lime posset was wonderfully tangy and refreshing, whilst the tiramisu was rich and creamy. The Torta Caprese added a lovely chocolate crunch to proceedings and the handmade biscuits were delightful.
Well what can I say, we had a simply lovely time at Trattoria 51. the food, service and ambience were all excellent and if you have not already been I recommend that you go as soon as possible! This is real, traditional Italian food with simple, bold flavours which satisfy the senses and leave you feeling contented and comforted. The dessert platter was a wonderful touch and a really nice surprise to round off a super night, and we were made so welcome by Attilio and his team, so a big thank you for such a great night!
What do you all think, would you like to enjoy some delicious Italian food at Trattoria 51, what is your favourite Italian dish? As always I cannot wait to hear you thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!
25-31 Old Hall Street
0151 236 4739
0151 236 4739
Until next time,