This is a reet Yorkshire Italian! Friendly, down to earth and value for money.
Roberto’s was once one of Dewsbury’s most popular restaurants based in one of the town’s most historic and best-loved buildings.
Until, that is, the place fell into disrepair and Roberto’s was forced to flee to Batley in 2007.
The restaurant’s spiritual home was the former Co-operative building, Pioneer House in Northgate, with its ornate stone, crafted woodwork and beautiful stained glass windows.
Roberto’s was one of the last businesses to leave Pioneer House and the building would have been lost forever had Kirklees Council not stepped in with a compulsory purchase order.
Pioneer House is well on the way to being restored, but long since Roberto’s was born again in another building, only slightly less iconic, in the heart of Batley.
Roberto’s is now established in the former Batley Post Office building, opposite Batley Town Hall in the historic Market Place.
It’s a quirky venue for a restaurant and if you’d not been to Batley in a while you could be forgiven for climbing up the front steps and pulling open the door expecting to see the familiar post office counters.
Instead, diners are greeted with a comfortable bar area where you can relax before your meal. The restaurant itself stretches away to the right, simple, functional and homely.
Roberto’s has been run since 1987 by Mauro Cianella and his wife Razia Khan and has a strong family feel, like any good Italian should.
The young waiting staff were polite, attentive and efficient – perhaps a little too efficient at times!
Roberto’s has a very extensive menu with pastas, pizzas and risottos to salmon, duck and steak.
Top price is the 8oz fillet steak at £16.50 – good value in my book.
As a cash-conscious Yorkshireman what caught my eye was the special offer of £11.95 for four courses, from a set menu of course.
The ‘four courses’ isn’t all it promises to be as the first ‘course’ is a drink and the last a coffee. They don’t hide the fact and it’s still good value for all that.
My partner Sian and I booked for a Tuesday late tea. There just seems something decadent about splashing out on a meal midweek.
We’d decided on the four-courser but I was almost won over by the specials board – deep-fried queen scallops, fresh oysters, fresh mussels and frog’s legs – and that was just for starters.
But this was about trying out the budget menu and while we were there plenty of families were eating out, a clear sign that the prices won’t blow a hole in the housekeeping.
My first course was a small glass of red wine while driver Sian had the lemonade.
The budget menu offers a good choice and I choose potato skins, served with garlic, mayonnaise and cheese.
The salad it came with looked pre-prepared and while the dish was tasty and filling I was hoping for a little something extra.
Sian was more satisfied with the garlic mushrooms, which were tender and well-cooked and the creamy sauce had the ideal consistency.
For mains I went for the Tortelloni Aurora and Sian the Spaghetti Bolognese. My cheese and spinach-stuffed pasta was tasty and wholesome and Sian’s spaghetti oozed in a rich red wine sauce. This was certainly fast food as there was little time to draw breath between courses. Within 60 seconds of putting the cutlery down our plates had been cleared and another 30 seconds later the dessert menus were in our hands.
This was nothing more than the over-enthusiasm of the young waiters, I’m sure, but still a little distracting.
The desserts at Roberto’s looked special and having opted for the economy ‘four courser’ we bust the budget by going for afters.
All desserts are £2.95 so we didn’t have to push the boat out too far, however. I had the creamy strawberry cheesecake with Roberto’s ‘secret recipe’ strawberry sauce, which was delicious, while Sian tried the homemade tiramisu, which was moist and melt-in-the-mouth.
Without a doubt the desserts were the highlight and the toffee lumpy bumpy caught my eye for next time.
I definitely intend there to be a second date because I want to see what Roberto’s is truly capable of.
The ‘four courser’ menu offers solid, tasty, good value food for families on a budget but can Roberto’s deliver on those big ticket special occasions? I can’t wait to find out.
The restaurant also stages charity fundraising nights with menus at £10 and £15 for groups and events have been held for charities such as Kirkwood Hospice, Cancer Reasearch and Save The Children.
The Old Post Office, 15 Market Place, Batley, WF17 5DA
Tel: 01924 422423
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 4pm-10.30pm and Friday and Saturday 4pm-11pm. Lunchtime bookings for 10 people or more.
Disabled access: Please ring first
The bill: £34.30
Would you go back? Yes