Having exhausted many local options for takeaway and meals out, DD and their companion had high hopes that this venue may become the new favorite and in some aspects, were not disappointed.
Feeling a surge of spontaneity, we booked a table over the phone at ease, an hour before arrival and were met warmly by the waiter who showed us to a seat by the window.
Even on a quiet Thursday evening the restaurant had a steady flow of visitors chattering at just the right level to create an atmosphere, but not too much that you couldn’t hear.
For two hungry diners the menu was brimming with options, laid out sensibly, with markers for vegetarian eaters, dishes containing nuts and degrees of spice.
Food review: Bella Calabria, North End
We were served quickly and ordered a coke (£ 2.50) and a lychee juice (£ 2.50), which was a first for DD but as someone with a sweet tooth, it hit the mark.
We decided to start with the Siam Square mixed platter for two, which encompassed a selection of popular Thai starters: Vegetable spring rolls, prawn tempura, chicken satay, prawn toast and fish cakes presented neatly on rectangular stonecast plates with four tasty sauces including sweet vinegar , peanut and sweet chilli. A flavorsome start which we gobbled up quickly.
After umming and ahhing over an array of curries and stir-fried noodles, DD and companion both opted for a Thai classic, pad Thai. One with king prawns (£ 10.95) and one with chicken and beef (also £ 10.95).
These were a perfect blend of sweet and savory, enjoyed with a splash of lime with no lack of prawns or meat – everything a pad Thai should be.
However, in the interest of providing readers with an honest and candid review, I must confess that a minor confusion between DD and the waiter did seem to unnecessarily dampen the mood of the evening.
When deciding upon a main, I had inquired about one particular chef’s special, the jumbo prawns with garlic pepper (£ 13.95), but upon the answer had decided against it and stuck with what I know to be a favorite of mine.
The waiter mistook this for an order and had arrived at our table with three mains, which prompted multiple apologies for the confusion on our end as he reluctantly took the dish away.
The waiter shortly returned to ask if we would consider taking the meal home to eat as, he stressed, it had already been cooked.
We refused as we were already tucking into our mains and finding ourselves full, alongside a fear of reheated seafood (DD’s companion once had an experience never again to be spoken of).
As a former server, before landing this gig, DD is well acquainted with the phrase drummed into all waiting staff which goes something like: ‘The customer is always right.’
For anyone who has ever had to swallow their pride, plaster on a fake smile and apologize to a Karen who is insisting they speak to the manager, you know the pain of having to adhere to this sometimes ridiculous rule.
However in this case, it so heavily didn’t apply that DD and their companion were left feeling quite awkward and wishing for the experience to be over.
The change in mood that followed was obvious and annoyance at what was clearly a simple mistake led to a rather uncomfortable rest of our evening.
Including having to wait a long time for our bill to arrive and then to top it off, having to ask for the third meal to be taken off as we pointed out we wouldn’t be paying for a meal we hadn’t eaten, nor asked for.
Despite this, the food was undeniably delicious and flavors spot on. If we had enjoyed it under different circumstances, this would be a shining review.