True taste of Italy

PHOTO : DAVID HURST'Italian Cottage, Chaeapside. Chorley.
PHOTO : DAVID HURST'Italian Cottage, Chaeapside. Chorley.
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My wife and I have always enjoyed happy times on holidays to Italy with trips to Pisa, Florence and Venice.

So we try to recreate the memories by visiting Italian restaurants - as regular readers of this section will know that we love to do.

And where better to visit that the Italian Cottage set off the main road in the town centre.

We made it a family trip by taking our son Eoin with us.

So you can imagine the shock when we walked in and an old poster saying ‘Unsupervised and unruly children will be taken away as slaves.’

We warned Eoin that he had to be on his best behaviour...but that did not stop him from trying to throw plates and cutlery on the floor.

The setting lived up to its name of being a cottage with traditional wooden beams and exposed bricks, not to mention the fireplace which makes you feel at home.

We were taken to our table upstairs via the spindle staircase.

One of the interesting things about the surroundings was the number of different clocks on the wall as you go up the stairs.

And there was another interesting gadget awaiting us as we prepared to sit down.

Instead of using a high chair we were introduced to a sling which acted a child seat.

It was a new experience for Eoin, but one that he thoroughly enjoyed.

Anyway down to the real reason for our visit - the food.

I ordered the black pudding - which was grilled and sat on a mound of mashed potatoes with English mustard dressing (£5.50).

Carolyn opted for the Tuscan Bread, which was nuggets of bread and sun blush tomato, garlic, basil and balsamic vinegar (£4.25).

We also decided to get a plain garlic bread (£3.50) to accompany the starters, which is Eoin’s favourite.

My starter was well constructed on the plate with the mashed potato on the bottom with two pieces of black pudding which was drizzled with the mustard.

To top it off there was crispy fried leeks which were a bitter complement to the savoury black pudding.

Meanwhile, the crispy bread was full of flavour with the onions and salsa and olive oil.

Carolyn enjoyed her started and there was still enough tasty sauce to soak up with garlic bread.

Eoin tried a little bit of everything there was still plenty ...there was even enough for him to offer to some of the customers at a table next to us!

For the main courses, I went for my traditional favourite of pollo a la crema (£13.95) which was served with potatoes and vegetables.

Carolyn thought that she would have been struggling for options because she is a lactose intolerant pescatarian as some of the sauces had cheese or milk in them but she plumped for the spaghetti rustica (£8.50).

There was barely enough time to talk about the day’s highlights at work before our mains arrived.

I always think that it is hard to go wrong with chicken but this chicken dish was at a different level as it was succulent inside yet with a crispy cooked outside.

I am used to getting chicken meals with a creamy sauce but this was great with the contrast of the salty bacon to spinach and mushrooms.

Another major plus for this plate was that it was overflowing and left you feeling more than satisfied.

Meanwhile,Carolyn gave the thumbs up for the pasta which had her a bit hot under the collar with the chilli, capers and rocket.

Eoin tried a little bit of everything including the vegetables as finger food.

I ordered some skinny chips - because I was watching my weight but they came in an unusual fashion, being served in an cone-shaped dish, which immediately took Eoin’s fancy.

Unfortunatley there was no space for a dessert, although there were plenty of delicious-sounding options to choose from.

Without doubt this is the best Italian restaurant we have been to and all three of us are looking forward to going back there in the near future.