Quickie Italian restaurant reviews: Asti (Broughton Street) and Strada (Castle Street)

Asti : Charming chilled out European vibe, polenta chips could be crunchier and calamari with chilli jam a bit of an odd combination. Lovely succulent king prawns in a tangy lemon garlic butter. Best macaroni cheese in town! We didn’t have time to stay for dessert, but I shall definitely be back. Amazingly, they’d just opened 5 days before our visit. Unsure about the scented candles in a restaurant (detracts from the food), but otherwise fabulous.

Strada:  Zuppa vongole e fregola a different soup option to the ubiquitous minestrone; my soup was lovely and delicate, lifted by the hint of chilli and fresh parsley. Linguine pescatora was light and fresh, and would have been a perfect summer dish but still delicious now the weather has turned. I did like the fact there was the perfect amount of fresh tomato sauce, not smothered or cloying. Haricots (french beans) with toasted crumbs, grana padano & lemon zest was tempting, but I went with the broccoli with chilli butter instead. Super-fresh, just a touch of butter to bring out the flavour and not a drop more. There was a plentiful selection of tempting sides, and the autumn menu had a few lovely sounding dishes.

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