Friday, 6 September 2013

Stefano’s Restaurant and Pizzeria

According to the South Wales Echo Food and Drink Awards, 2013, Stefano’s is the best Italian restaurant in South Wales. Having eaten there recently, I am inclined to agree with them. There is a big ‘but’ but I’ll deal with that later…

The menu is extensive and very interesting. I had great difficulty deciding on every single course. There are fifteen different starters and doesn't include the pasta dishes also available as starters. There are a couple of dishes that sound particularly interesting such as the Agnello (£9.95) (slow cooked lamb breast seared & served warm with pea & mint purée) and Polpo (£9.25) (octopus carpaccio served cold with rocket and mustard mayo). I opted for the Capesante (£10.95) (fresh seared king scallops, on a bed of crushed cannellini beans, garnished with crispy Parma ham & rocket pesto).

The picture does not do it justice but the starter was excellent. The scallops were well seasoned and the combination of salty crisp ham worked perfectly with the sweetness of the scallop. A perfect combination. The cannellini beans offered a bit of substance to the dish but it was more of a purée than crushed. The inclusion of the beans was good but the odd bit of skin detracted from what was otherwise a thoroughly tasty dish. The starter was up there with the best I have eaten in Cardiff this year.

For main course I chose the Tagliatelle Salsicca (£13.95) (spicy Italian sausage in an aubergine & tomato sauce).  You can choose from a range of different pastas and a variety of sauces including Salmone (£14.95) (fresh salmon pieces in a light creamy fennel, pernod & cherry tomato sauce) and Pollo (£13.95) (sautéed sliced chicken & celery with a creamy Gorgonzola sauce).

Tagliatelle Salsicca

The quality of the pasta was head and shoulders above what is served in run of the mill restaurants and pubs in Cardiff. Light as opposed to starchy and stodgy and the heat from the meaty sausage kicking in after every mouthful.

Pizza with Parma ham, green pepper and onions
I also shared a pizza with my girlfriend. A ten inch Margherita pizza will set you back £9.50 and the cost of toppings varies. We went for Parma ham, green pepper and onions (£15.50). Building your own pizza is expensive. Overall it was good but the base could have been crispier. Am I being a bit picky? Maybe I am but for £15.50, I’m expecting perfection.

Lemon Tartufo
I full but after a short break I was persuaded to share a Lemon Tartufo (lemon ice cream with a soft lemon liqueur centre coated with crushed lemon meringue (£4.95). The lemon was refreshing but unfortunately the meringue had softened so didn't provide the crunchy contrast to the ice cream I expected.

Overall the the food and service were great but it was a shame that were only three other tables occupied in the restaurant all night. It was interesting to see that all customers received a 20% discount card off all subsequent bills (Monday to Friday). Combined with their recent Groupon promotion, it suggests to me that they are aware that the price could be putting people off.

As a suggestion it would be great if Stefano’s offered a fixed priced evening menu. Without doubt, they need to look at the prices of their pizzas...I don’t know of anyone who would be happy to pay £20 for a chicken, Parma ham and asparagus pizza.

Stefano’s Restaurant and Pizzeria 
14 Romilly Crescent
CF11 9NR

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