By Aalia Khan
A warm and welcoming atmosphere welcomed me into Mamma Mia in Bradford. The smell of delicious cooking and baking got my taste buds tingling from the moment I stepped in, and this being my first visit to the family-run newly refurbished Italian restaurant, it was clear that customer satisfaction, friendliness and a great time are their primary focuses.
The lovely owners Giovanni and Nella Massimo were nothing but hospitable throughout my dining experience, as Giovanni welcomed us in, Nella took us to our table at the side of the room. It was a good place to be seated as being against the wall meant that you didn’t have people walking all around you.
We were handed the menu and Nella explained what each dish consisted of and which were halal so that we could eat them. Some of the chicken dishes are halal and the owners are helpful in advising which are and aren’t. For starters I chose Condimento Di Pane – which is homemade bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, along with Penne Al Pomodoro – this being Penne pasta with fresh tomatoe sauce and basil. The Condimento Di Pane came on a slate which I liked as it was different. The homemade bread was soft and fluffy and went well with the olive and oil and balsamic vinegar. The Penne Al Pomodoro was one of the nicest Pasta’s I’ve had. The aroma was enticing and saucy appearance made it look just as appetising as it was. From the first bite I could tell that the pasta shells were cooked to perfection – not overcooked nor undercooked, and the sauce was also very tasty, not like the usual ‘out of a jar’ that you would get elsewhere.
The atmosphere of the restaurant was warm, relaxed and at ease. Although it was quite busy everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and not worried about the amount of people around them. The main thing which bothers me at a restaurant is if the temperature is too cold as it makes it difficult for me to enjoy my food, but Mama Mia was warm, just right for me to be able to take off my coat without worrying about feeling chilly.
For my main dish I decided to go for something a little different instead of the usual pizza that I would have normally gone for. I went with the Spezatino Pazzo – strips of chicken with onions, peppers and spicy tomatoe sauce. I accompanied this with Zucchine Fritte, which are fried aubergines. The main dish came after 10 minutes of completing the starter which I liked as, despite them being so busy, they ensured that meals were served on time in between courses. This was just enough time to get me ready to dig into the main after finishing the starter.
To my surprise I really enjoyed this dish as the chicken was extremely succulent and deliciously cooked with the peppers and onions, complimenting the whole dish. The Zucchine Fritte was also delicious, although I had expected them to be crispy and they were rather soft but none the less they still tasted lovely. The presentation of the Spezatino Pazzo was simple yet effective; it came in a simple white dish, nothing fancy but still did the trick with getting my mouth watering and eager to dig into.
Looking around I could tell that Giovanni and Nella were very attentive with all their customers, going up, speaking to them and asking them if they enjoyed their food. They also ensured that they went to a customer at the right time, not when their mouth was full with food. Nella also came up to us and chatted about how she and Giovanni do the job because “They love it” and it is all about their “Roots.”
To end the meal a sweet treat was a must. Looking at the menu I asked Nella what the ‘Cheesecake of the day’ was, she said this was a white chocolate cheesecake with a raspberry topping, as soon as I heard that I knew it was the one. It arrived with a lovely heart shaped chocolate on top sided with cream and it was absolutely delicious.
I must say my experience at Mamma Mia was divine and I will definitely be recommending it to others.