Restaurant review: Mozzarella's, Marsden

I’D heard a lot about Mozzarella’s Italian Restaurant in Marsden, but had never actually been there until last Sunday when, accompanied by the review team of Patricia and my dad, Kenneth, we decided to give it a go.

Mozzarella's in Marsden

I’D heard a lot about Mozzarella’s Italian Restaurant in Marsden, but had never actually been there until last Sunday when, accompanied by the review team of Patricia and my dad, Kenneth, we decided to give it a go.

It was a bit of a risk taking Kenneth. He has survived, nay thrived, for four score years by steadfastly ignoring all culinary advice.

He has one simple rule on the food front – if it’s green, it never passes his lips.

Mozzarella’s, however, do pizzas and you don’t get much greenery on a pizza, so I invited him to come along.

We arrived early and once inside the rustic interior were given a warm welcome by the serving staff.

We were shown to a table in the main dining area which had a homely feel with wooden floor and tables and walls painted in warm burgundy and mustard tones. It was the hottest day of the year and we were thankful for the ceiling fans.

Mozzarella’s was opened nine years ago by husband and wife team Paul and Charlotte Kewley, who took over the Olive Branch Restaurant in 1993. The idea was that the two restaurants would offer local residents a choice of dining – the Olive Branch for special occasions and Mozzarella’s for everyday dining and family meals out.

It seems that the Kewleys’ business strategy has paid off. Last summer they bought the shop next door in Peel Street – the former Pennine Wholefoods – and knocked through to create a new wine bar area. Mozzarella’s now caters for some 60 covers and is busy most nights, seven days a week.

As soon as we were seated, our waitress took our drinks order. I like this. There’s nothing more irritating than sitting down in a restaurant and then having to gesticulate like mad in order to get a drink while you study the menu.

Before 7pm from Sunday to Thursday, the restaurant offers an Early Bird Special of a pizza, pasta or choice of other dishes for £5.95. You’d pay that for a take-away, so this makes a family meal out very affordable.

The drinks menu revealed an impressive list of 25 bottled lagers, various bottled and draught beers, champagnes, 30-odd wines and a choice of 15 soft drinks – something to suit everybody. Prices on the wine ranged from £13 for a bottle of Italian Chardonnay to £27 for a Sancerre, with most wines being available by the glass.

As well as starters, there are a selection of ‘nibbles’ on the menu, mostly breads and dough balls. This is ideal if you have hungry young children and want something delivered quickly to the table before the main course.

For starters I had the goat’s cheese and parma ham bruschetta and Patricia ordered the special of warm chicken and pancetta salad, both £5.95. Kenneth was saving himself for the pizza.

We were surprised at the size of the portions – the salad was almost the size of a main course. No nouvelle cuisine-sized dishes here! Both starters were tasty.

Although we had tried to tempt Kenneth with the Yorkshireman pizza, which is basically a full English breakfast on a pizza base, he refused to be swayed and stuck to his usual Margherita. The large pizza had a thin crispy base, similar to tarte flambée, if you’ve ever been to Alsace.

We waited with baited breath for Kenneth’s opinion. “Not bad,” came the reply. This may not sound like much, but it’s almost as close to a Michelin star as a restaurant can get.

My pasta pesto with mushrooms in a cream sauce was good, if a little heavy. Patricia ordered the special of pan seared scallops with risotto nero. It is squid ink which makes the risotto black and I don’t know if this is a particularly expensive commodity, but at £16.25, the risotto was the only item we considered to be overpriced. We thought everything else represented very good value for money, particularly considering the generous portions. The risotto did taste very good.

Other main courses included steaks and burgers from the grill as well as chicken, pork, duck and fish dishes.

By now we were all full, but considered it our duty to continue. We ordered the tiramisu with three spoons at £4.50. The dessert was both enormous and delicious and it did not take us long to polish it off.

We rounded off the meal with a variety of coffees. My cappuccino was not for the faint hearted – a welcome change from the insipid coffees served in some eateries.

Verdict: a cheerful restaurant with friendly, efficient staff. The food is good with generous portions and competitively priced.

“Well, would you come again?” I asked my father. We waited on tenterhooks. After a brief pause, Kenneth uttered the immortal words: “Yes, I think I would.”

Praise indeed.

Mozzarella’s Pizzeria and wine bar

23 Peel St, Marsden, HD7 6BW

Tel (01484) 845511

Website www.mozzarellas.uk.com

Opening hours Monday 6pm-9:30pm; Tues, Wed and Thurs 6pm-10pm; Fri and Sat 5pm-10.30pm; Sunday 5pm-9pm.

Children Very child friendly

Disabled access Yes

The bill £60 for three with alcoholic drinks and coffees

Would you go back? Yes

 
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