Cafe EATaliano, Hamilton

Back in the day when I was 18 (definitely not younger. Definitely) there was a pub called Chambers that my colleagues and I used to just love. We’d be there at least weekly to have a few drinks after work, play pool, request on the jukebox or kickstart a heavy night out. I have great memories of that time. Chambers closed down a while ago and finally the sad, abandoned little pub was transformed! It became an Italian restaurant called Cafe EATaliano.

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My gran has been itching to take me here – she tried it and loved it, so she felt it should feature on HoH! I was stunned by the look of the place – I still had the pub in mind. The far end walls are are library of wine bottles and the rest of the restaurant is stone walled with chunky wood, plants and iron decor. It’s modern and comfortable. The wine bottles are worth mentioning – they’re for display only and look amazing, but they do have a huge selection of wine as the owners own their own vineyard.

The menu has so many options. It took me ages to decide!

Starters

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Minestrone Soup

I love my minestrone. When I see it on a menu it takes a craving or something special persuade me not to order it. This was one of those days. I had to have my soup. It’s so hard to take a nice photograph of minestrone, especially with Parmesan. It passed my first test: the stock. I always steal a taste before the Parmesan and if it’s full bodied, tangy and savoury then it’s a winner. Passed. The second test: nice vegetables. Passed. Lovely soft vegetables. My favourite soup by a mile.

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Funghi Ripieni

My gran opted for mushrooms stuffed with cheese, coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. this was served with a side salad and a garlic dip. This is probably silly, but I like a good side salad. I’d rather no side salad than a rubbish one. Even one this small can be of a good quality – a mixture of colours – some cucumber and pepper. Perfect. The mushrooms were beautiful – juicy, cheesy, earthy and crunchy. Lovely.

Main Courses

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Marinara Scoglio

I decided to mix my two loves: seafood and pasta. I chose linguine with mixed seafood – mussels, calamari and prawn – in a garlic and white wine sauce. It was absolutely delicious. I had my reservations – I had EATaliano in my head as too casual a place to really pull it off, and I was pleasantly surprised, especially with the calamari which was cooked to perfection. Calamari can be overdone and given that this was cooked with mussels and prawns, I’m impressed. It was such a light and fresh pasta and wasn’t in any way strong flavoured – an easy, tasty lunch.

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Pollo Rustico

My Gran opted for the grilled chicken fillet on a bed of grilled Mediterranean vegetables. this was drizzled with white wine and a balsamic reduction. It sounded so clean and healthy, and there I am with my creamy pasta! So she ordered a big plate of sauté potatoes to ‘carb it up’. I had a taste – the chicken was moist and so rich with flavour and the vegetables had a great bite.

Desserts

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Tiramisu

I can’t say no to a tiramisu. This was nice, but not really much to write home about. I’m not convinced that it was made in-house, as it was similar to ones I buy – so it was lovely and I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong – but it really wasn’t worth writing home about for that reason.

I had a lovely lunch in EATaliano. I went in with a pretty mixed view of the place and I wasn’t quite convinced to try it, but I left happy with my meal. The staff are so friendly and they seem to understand the business and who they work for – an Italian family – and they explained a lot to me about the previous pub, the renovations and also the vineyards in Italy. They were friendly and attentive and they served me really tasty food. EATaliano is perfect for a casual lunch!

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Cafe EATaliano

55 Almada Street

Hamilton

ML3 0HQ

(01698) 427333

http://www.eatalianos.co.uk

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