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Review of Ask Italian in Cheltenham

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 01, 2014

By Helen Blow

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WHEN you get a 50 per cent discount voucher for your meal out, you tend to get over-excited and not concentrate quite as much as perhaps you should.

Sometimes it’s a really good idea to read the small print – or, in our case, any of the print – on these offers which seem too good to be true.

We headed for Ask Italian in Cheltenham on the back of such a meal deal – and ended up having just £3.25 deducted from our £100 bill.

Admittedly, it did specify the deal was just on pizza and pasta. And the small print said specials didn’t count.

But even so, we were a bit shocked when the bill came.

Lesson learned. Still, aside from all that we did have a really good meal, even if £25 a head for lunch is a bit steep.

The restaurant is in the heart of Montpellier, just up from The Queen’s Hotel with a huge, inviting bay window facing the road.

Inside, it’s light and airy, with brightly-coloured walls – featuring murals of chefs and, with a nod to Cheltenham’s racing heritage, horses – and trendy tables and chairs and red leather banquettes.

An antipasto sharing board (£11.95 for two) started things off nicely, piled high with cheese, Italian meats, salad leaves and some delightful rosemary and sea salt bread.

The children chose garlic bread (£4.15) and cheesy garlic bread (£4.65) but should have stuck with just one as each was the size of a pizza and we ended up taking almost half of each one home.

A bottle of Sicilian Nero d’Avola shiraz (£14.75) whetted our appetites as we awaited the arrival of our main courses.

Both my husband and I went for specials (damn that small print) and, although they garnered no discount, they were delicious.

My king prawn and Coppa ham capellini (£11.75) was tossed in a piquant sauce of tomatoes, garlic, lemon and chilli.

One niggle was that the angel hair pasta had stuck together in clumps on my plate.

But it didn’t detract from the flavour, which was to die for.

While the children enjoyed a Margarita pizza (£7.25), served with discount, and a panino di pollo (£10.15) – slices of pan-fried chicken breast in a yummy rosemary and sea salt panini – my husband was impressed with the meltingly tender roast duck Valpolicella (£13.95), with new potatoes and an orange and red wine sauce.

Feeling a little full but still with room for something sweet, the kids and I caved in and ordered dessert.

A scoop of chocolate ice cream for son (£2), the gooey and rich chocolate amore (£5.45) cake for daughter and a totally indulgent and unnecessary grande gelato (£4.95) for me.

Indulgent maybe but also delicious. They had combined crumbled hazelnut meringue and vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries and raspberries and a dash of cream.

When the bill came it was a bit of a shock and we had to convince ourselves that, despite the price, we’d had a fab lunch and wouldn’t have to eat anything else that day.

Four hours later I was making supper for three out of four of us. Funny how a solid nap after lunch can work up an appetite.

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