“ Cuisine: Italian / Address: 95 South Street, Romford, Essex, RM11NX / Tel: 01708 725700 „
A few months ago during one of my son's trips home from university, my husband and I decided to treat the family to an evening out. In our party were myself and my husband and three of our grown up children, and my son's girlfriend; all the youngsters being aged between seventeen to twenty-eight.
We started the evening with a couple of games of bowling at Romford's Number 10 bowling centre, in the Brewery Centre in Romford. After the bowling we looked for somewhere to eat within the complex.
Now I must explain that eating out with my family isn't at all easy. My youngest doesn't eat meat and is extremely fussy; my son's girlfriend doesn't eat meat either, although she isn't as fussy with food. My eldest daughter DOES eat meat but also isn't very easy to please. I don't eat meat either, but usually find a suitable choice at most places that I go to. Hubby says he is easy to please food wise, but on this matter I would beg to differ! Luckily my son (and his brother who wasn't with us on this occasion) is very easy to please.
Because of all the different palettes my family have, we had thought Pizza Express might be a suitable choice. Although I wasn't overly excited at the prospect of pizza we thought that everyone might find something on the menu they would like to eat. On entering Pizza Express, we were told that there would be a wait. We decided, instead of waiting we would go along to Romford's South Street to see what was available.
A short walk found us outside Ciao Bella. We all had a look at the menu and we thought it looked good and might be worth a try. As we were still looking the manager (owner too, I think) appeared at our side and explained that he had a table vacant. He went on to explain a little about the menu and confirmed that Ciao Bella served plenty for vegetarians.
95 South Street, Romford, Essex RM1 1NX
Ciao Bella is in a good location as it is close to Romford train station and a good choice of buses stop nearby. Public car parks are also close to this restaurant.
We were welcomed into the interior, shown to a large table which gave us ample space. There were other diners seated at other tables but there was adequate room, felt, between tables for a feeling of privacy.
The inside had an Italian ambience yet it still felt contemporary. Tables of differing sizes were dotted around, the lighting was pleasantly subtle. Other diners were chatting quietly and the background music was low.
Our waitress came up and introduced herself; we discovered she was from Eastern Europe. She was polite and efficient. The owner's daughter also was a waitress for our table and she too introduced herself. The family are from Sardinia, a place I have been to some time ago. The waitresses were knowledgeable about the menu and seemed very pleased to help with any queries. We found the service, as well as being efficient, especially warm and welcoming. The daughter, Maria, kissed us all in Mediterranean style, as we left.
On being seated we all ordered drinks. We chose a large glass of white wine (Can't remember which except it was Italian and probably Pinot Grigio) and a bottle of red house wine which, was decent, a pint of beer, and soft drinks for two of our party.
The 'Chef's daily special' menu was written up on a blackboard. This, the waitresses carried over to us and explained its content. We considered there to be a good selection of Italian food including meat and fish dishes. We had also been supplied with a menu previously.
The menu here is good, with choices for both meat eaters and vegetarians. Being Italian the choice of pasta dishes is large, as is the pizza choice.
I can't remember exactly what everyone had, except we all ordered too much, not knowing that the portions were generous. We ordered between us pasta dishes, pizza and fish. We also had sides such as garlic bread and dough balls.
The food was of a good standard and everyone said that they enjoyed the meal. But I think we were unanimous in deciding that the best thing about Ciao Bella was the welcoming atmosphere and lovely service.
No one had any room left for dessert.
We asked for the bill. Now I can't remember exactly how much this came to except to say that we were pleasantly surprised. I seem to recall that the bill came to a little over £100 which, considering the extra drinks ordered wasn't too bad for a nice pleasant evening out.
When we had settled the bill Maria brought a tray of drinks to our table and insisted we all had something 'on the house.' The two young ladies in our group who aren't drinkers declined but the signorina made sure that she had something for them to try. The tray was mainly made up of a good selection of liqueurs.
The lavatories were upstairs. The staircase and corridor to the toilets was pleasantly decorated in an Italian style. The toilets themselves were very clean and well supplied. Unfortunately I don't know if there was a downstairs lavatory available for disabled guests. I would have thought there was as this place seemed well thought out, but I mustn't assume. I will supply the web site address and contact details shortly for any queries.
Or Telephone: 01708 725700
We were all impressed with this restaurant and were glad we had dined here. We had a lovely evening which we are hoping to repeat in the not too distant future. We appreciated the good menu and the quality of the food. However, we all thought that the friendly atmosphere made our evening extra special.