London has an overwhelming number of places to eat. From hotel restaurants to quaint cafes, and 5 course sit down meals to light bites and take aways, there is literally something for everyone and every mood. To celebrate this wealth of culinary delight, I was invited to take part in Bookatable’s Feast on London festival and dine at any restaurant of my choice from the huge list involved. Lucky me!
As a vegetarian who also often chooses vegan food as my preference, I scoured the menus looking for somewhere with a good range of these choices. There were plenty to pick from, but I eventually settled for Bella Italia because they had alot of tasty sounding options to choose from and I do particularly love Italian food! I opted for the Islington branch of this popular chain, as it is conveniently located fairly close to St Pancras International station.
Booking with Bookatable
Booking online via Bookatable was extremely straightforward. I had booked it within seconds; it couldn’t be easier. Select date, time and number of people, then give basic details – and it’s done! I then received my reservation number and confirmation by email instantly.
However, on the day of the booking, things did not go according to plan; being a parent, especially with an SEND child, can mean that sometimes plans go awry. Unable to make it to the restaurant on time, initially we tried to amend the booking until later that same evening. They accomodated this the best they could but unfortunately, dealing with a child in full meltdown, I was still unable to get there later on. We tried to let the restaurant know direct (note: you can cancel online in advance via Bookatable in just a few clicks) but by then it was quite late and the phone just kept on ringing.
Thankfully, the next day was better. So I rebooked the restaurant and this time actually made it!
Bella Italia, Islington is about 25 minutes walk from St Pancras International station, in a shopping centre in Islington, located upstairs (with lift, stairs and escalator access) next to a cinema. The restaurant itself also seems to have reasonably easy access for all; it has a wide entrance, and it is all on one level, no steps, including the toilets.
Outside there is a small seating area, which I thought was a nice touch. It is also undercover (so suitable for all weather) which is great if you decide not to sit inside for any reason.
Inside, it is light and airy with stylish decor. The music was a good volume, serving as background stimulation without making conversation difficult. It is a comfortable, casual family-friendly restaurant with helpful staff and a nice atmosphere.
The only thing I would point out is that it was a quiet period when we visited. If it was busy, I wonder if the environment might be too noisy and overstimulating for some; particularly some children or autistic people for example. However, this is just a guess and not based on my own experience of eating there.
We were seated promptly and after some brief confusion with the correct menu (the staff member was unsure about Feast On London and had to check with the manager what it was), we were given an adequate amount of time to make our decision, without waiting too long to order. The food and drinks were all served promptly, and the staff were friendly and attentive throughout.
For mains, I had Pomodoro Pasta; a vegan dish, also available as gluten free. My friend chose Campagne Pizza, which is vegetarian and, again, a gluten free version is also available.
Both dishes were good portion size, and were prepared with fresh tasty ingredients. The food was well cooked, not over or under done (which is quite common with pizzas especially). We both really enjoyed our dishes.
For dessert, we chose Sicilian Lemon ‘Cheesecake’ and Cookie Dough Al Forno. The cookie dough is vegetarian, it is freshly oven baked to order, and is served with vanilla gelato and caramel sauce.
The Sicilian Lemon ‘Cheesecake’ is a vegan dessert. (Note: it also contains alcohol). It was very tasty; the lemon gave it a heavy zing, that was ever so slightly overpowering at times, but still delicious nonetheless. Both desserts were very enjoyable.
The Bookatable Feast On London festival offer (which Bella Italia also refer to as their Italian Feast deal) is £12.99 for two courses or £15.99 for three courses from a limited menu. As mentioned above though, the selection is excellent, with vegan and vegetarian options to choose from, and plenty of gluten free choices, too. The two course meal we ate came to £35 for two people in total, including soft drinks and tip. I felt this was certainly fair value for the quality of good, service and overall experience.
We really enjoyed our meal at Bella Italia; handy location, stimulating atmosphere, friendly staff, great service, excellent food, good value. I definitely recommend the restaurant, and also suggest you check out Bookatable too!
*This post is written in collaboration with Bookatable as part of Feast On London. All thoughts and opinions are my own.