“ Address: 1A Clarendon Avenue / Leamington Spa / CV32 5QU „
ASK is a chain of restaurants opened by Sam and Adam Kaye (where the ASK is believed to have come from) in 1993 and operates in over 120 locations in various cities and towns throughout the UK. It specialises in Italian foods and serves a wide variety of courses that have an authentic Italian feel to it.
Visiting ASK Leamington
The Leamington branch is in the town centre on Clarendon Avenue which is a 2 minute walk from the main shopping area. It is close to bus routes which stop off just round the corner from it and the train station is a 10-15 minute walk from it. It doesn't have its own car park but the town centre has plenty of parking both on street and in council run car parks.
ASK like many places can get busy so it is advisable to book a table where possible however it isn't always needed and I have on many times gone in without and got a table no problems. The restaurant itself is a decent size, would seat over 100 people and operates on the ground floor although the toilet facilities are located on the first floor.
There is no dress code for this restaurant, its whatever you feel comfortable in, but I would recommend smart-casual look. If I go in I usually wear jeans, T-Shirt and trainers.
I must make a special mention to the growing trend of discount vouchers. ASK is part of the group of chains which does these on a regular basis so before you do go check online for these. I personally have used 50% Buy one get one free on mains, 40% off etc so savings are there and its worth getting before you go in. If you do get these vouchers make sure you mention when ordering so there's no confusion at the end with the bill and also ensure the vouchers are valid on day of use. If you cannot get any voucher codes check on their website as they often do set menus for around £15 for 3 courses.
I've been into ASK several times and I can honestly say I've never had a bad experience. The restaurant itself is well set out and heat/lit to suit everybody's needed, I am a warm blooded person and I've never felt to hot in there which does tend to be a common problem for me when out eating. The restaurant had big windows which look out onto the street, in the summer and warm days these are opened so it allows customers to stay cool.
Food wise again I've never had any issues. I've had pizzas, pasta, salads as well as starters and desserts and all have been very nice. My personal favourites are -
Butterfly king prawns (£6.95) These are cooked well in a little dish and have a lovely garlic taste and has little bits of bread to mop up the juices. A lovely little starter to wet the appetite
Panzerottini (£4.95) These are basically little dough balls which contain either pepperoni or fontal cheese and chilli. I've only had the cheese and chilli ones but I've enjoyed them very much, the bread is soft and warm. I would recommend these as an alternative to the usual garlic bread.
Calzone con carne picante (£10.95) A calzone (for folded pizza) stuffed with pepperoni, chillies, ham, meatballs, onions, tomato and mozzarella. I've had this several times and do enjoy it very much. It is very filling and with the chillies in it does give it a mild heat. If I order this I usually don't order a starter because this alone is enough for me. Taste wise its packed full of flavour, the meat is well seasoned and it tomato sauce works well with it.
Chicken Caesar salad (£9.95) I'm not usually a big fan of salads eating out because I don't actually like tomatoes and cucumber I find that once these are taken out I'm left with very little else. Caesar salads are different in that it doesn't contain either so on one trip into ASK I thought Id give it go. The salad is filled with Cos lettuce, Gran Padano cheese, Caesar dressing and ciabatta sticks. What I like about it is the dressing comes in a little pot so you can add as much as you want for those watching their weight this is a good thing. The salad itself is surprisingly filling and full of flavour, I enjoyed it when I had it.
Overall the service I've had has been acceptable but nothing special. They are quick to seat you and assist in ordering I always seem to have an issue with getting the bill, they never seem to be around however this is an issue over many restaurants I've been into so its not an ASK only problem. They don't actually add on any service charge unless there are 6 or more of you in your party, this charge is still optional so its up to you if you wish to leave anything.
The toilets are located on the first floor. On the times I've used them they are clean and tidy and pleasant to use. The disabled toilet is on the ground floor for those who need this, as the main toilets are on the first floor I would recommend those who have difficultly walking use the disabled.
ASK for my is my favourite "chain" Italian restaurant and with voucher codes it does offer a good price to pay for a meal out. I would recommend this as a good place for a evening bite to eat or a lunch time treat. When I go I'm usually in there about an hour so its a good place to go if your time is limited.
overall I give this 5/5
I decided to look on voucher cloud for a good deal for a meal out for myself and hubby, we found ASK in leamington were doing a 25% off all bill or 50% off pasta and pizza menu so we decided to try it out.
== Our experience ==
We arrived about 8pm and were able to park outside for free (before 8pm is metered).
We were welcomed at the door by a waiter, he offered us a seat in a small section with lots of people explaining that it was warmer in that section (it was the week while the snow was still around!), we wanted to be able to chat though so we were taken to a window seat further in the restaurant. The restaurant is quite large and does have a small upstairs area. The toilets are situated upstairs.
One of the other reasons for choosing ASK restuarant is that it has a gluten free menu, my hubby is now wheat free so this was quite important.
The waiter came over and asked about drinks, we asked about the gluten free menu which was brought over to us, and I have to say that from there on they were so so helpful, they couldn't do enough for us!
The menu was excellent;
== Starter ==
We didn't have any starters but they ranged from £5 up to £11.45 for a sharing starter.
== Gluten free starter ==
The gluten free also had a choice of Prsciutto E Rucola which is a smoked prosciutto with rocket and chestnut, mushroom and cheese £5 and Insalata Caprese which is tomatoes, rocket with buffalo mozzarella £5.45.
== Main ==
There is a Pasta and risotto section which ranges in price from £7 to £12 and includes many italian and risotto dishes such as Fettuccini Bolognaise, normal bolognaise, ravioli and penne pasta.
There is a meat and fish section which ranges in price from £9 to £13.50 and includes Sea Bass and chicken.
There is a pizza section which ranges in price from £7 to £11.
and also there is a salad section.
== Gluten free main ==
The main gluten free menu had 19 choices of meals - wow! ranging from pasta, pizza's and meat options, prices were the same as the normal menu prices.
== Deserts ==
Deserts range from £5 to £6 a little expensive but well worth it, such as Lemon Tart, profiteroles, tiramisu and cheese cake.
== Gluten free deserts ==
The gluten free deserts were mainly ice creams, sorbets or fruit, there was one option of biscotti biscuits desert and again prices were the same as the normal menu.
On with our experience....
As we were perusing the menu's the head waitress came over to ask if we would like the nutritional information to go with the gluten free menu, she was so helpful telling us that she would rather us see it to make sure everything was safe, being as hubby is also intolerant to egg although we don't worry about that too much, we said yes.
I was amazed she brought out a printed A4 booklet with every single menu item and the ingredients it did or didn't have in it. The list was exellent and included dairy, egg, wheat, nuts and much more.
We decided on our meals; I went for the goats cheese pizza and hubby went for the mozerella cheese pizza. As the waiter came over with pizza's she brought it towards me and said mozerella cheese to which I said no that's for him, she looked confused so I said 'gluten free', she said 'no ah there's problem hold on' and disappeared. The head waitress came back again and was so so apologetic and said after all that she said and she forgot to write down gluten free. She was so lovely it didn't matter she'd made a mistake, it makes such a difference when waitress's acknowledge their mistake and make apologies. Mine arrive on a huge wooden platter with a little mini pizza cutter and then it wasn't long and hubby's now gluten free arrived, it was a different shape so in future we'd know if it was wrong as it would look different. However hubby was thrilled it looked and smelled delicious and more importantly than all it tasted delicious. It too came with it's own little mini pizza cutter.
My goats cheese pizza was absolutely gorgeous, I do like goats cheese on a pizza but sometimes chefs can go over the top and it's a bit over powering, this was in my opinion just exactly the right amount, so as we were eating enjoying the taste the waitress came over again still very apologetic and asking could she make amends by offering a glass of champagne each, we had already got an alcholic drink on arrival and didn't really want another, we said no it was fine and not to worry, oh no she said, will you be having coffee and we said well we'd probably have pudding so she said the coffee's are on us and insisted we have them! (just to note, had she not been apologetic in the first place or been funny about the error I would have pushed for getting the meal for free! but seeing as she was extremely sorry and we felt that she had realised what she could have done, plus the fact we were getting 25% off we decided this was a nice offer)
After the main I was so full but felt I must just give a pudding a taste!! I was undecided between a fudge cake type or a honeycomb cheese cake, the male water who took our order suggested the honeycomb so I went for that and wow I wasn't disappointed, it was delicious with little nuggets of honeycomb. Hubby had a lemon sorbet which he really enjoyed too.
Then came our complimentary coffee's which just topped the evening off. The only thing I have to add is that, it was however, cold, which was a little bit of a shame but that wasn't their fault, I guess they could have tried to get a few more heaters, I ended up sitting with my coat over my knees!!
== Lasting thoughts ==
An excellent evening out, regardless of the mistake and the cold it was lovely fantastic service, very polite staff and with the voucher a great price. We went for the 25% off the whole meal which made it really reasonable. So imagine what a night without the mistake and cold would be like - excellent, we shall certainly be goin there again and the gluten free menu is fantastic with a great many more meals for hubby to try.
I have given it full marks because I believe without the heating issue (which should be solved if we go again) it would have been an excellent night.