DINING OUT: Un Momento, St Annes
It’s coming up three decades since we moved to Fylde and our first home in St Annes was just round the corner from Alexandria Drive.
In those days, a fish and chip shop, then without dining facilities, was the only culinary option in that area and we had to head into town or to a seafront hotel for a sit down meal.
Some years after we moved, the Banthai Thai restaurant opened on the road and we envied those who had such a renowned eaterie on their doorstep.
That closed some time ago now but further along the road, Un Momento has arrived in what used to be a hat shop – and it has been quick to make a dazzling impression on internet review sites.
Visitors galore pass within yards of Alexandria Drive every day along Clifton Drive South and South Promenade, which run parallel, and yet to the uninitiated, despite its proximity to the beach and other seafront attractions, it remains one of St Annes’ best-kept secrets.
Giuseppe Verdone, who spent seven years at Portofino in Lytham before his dream of opening this first restaurant of his own became reality in January, hopes to change all that and make it a destination in its own right to sample his authentic Italian food in what the restaurant’s excellent website terms “a relaxed, friendly and intimate setting”.
Intimate it certainly is, as we counted a few more than 20 covers, at just six or seven tables, all stylishly clad with crisp white tablecloths.
We were warmly welcomed by Guiseppe’s partner Alessia and offered a window table overlooking the street we had trodden so often all those years ago.
Along with reasonably-priced wines, beers and other alcoholic drinks, we noticed among the soft drinks the option of still or sparkling Armani water, as styled by the world-renowned designer.
The restaurant claims to be the only local outlet for that brand and that too was priced reasonably enough.
But as we fancied a slightly longer drink than the 330ml Armani bottles, my wife and I opted for a half litre each of the sparking variety of the other Italian water on offer, while our teenage daughter chose a Diet Coke.
Ahead of a list of nine starters, the menu offers a ‘While You Wait’ section, covering the likes of olives, chickpea fritters and sweet and sour aubergine salad, all veggi-friendly and all at £3.95, along with a range of baked foccacia breads.
From the list of starters, I chose polpette – billed as ‘Grandmam’s beef meatballs with herbs, pecorino cheese and parsley in a light tomato sauce with basil’ (£6.50) and they were very tasty indeed with the presentation, complete with parmesan crisp, an absolute delight.
Mrs D opted for Trilogia di Bruschette (£6.95), three different little tasters of toasted homemade bread – wild mushrooms with soft cheese, sweet and sour aubergine salad and cherry tomatoes, basil and marinated red onion.
The teen, meanwhile, tucked into a focaccia bread with rosemary, oregano and garlic (£3.80) and both of my companions were equally well satisfied with their appetisers.
Along with main course options such as fillet steak, lamb shank and marinated cod, there is an extensive pasta, risotto and pizza range and it is those which tempted us.
Guiseppe isn’t afraid to show his culinary flair with some very inventive dishes.
I chose Risotto Wild Forest (£10.95) with mushrooms, stewed shallots, smoked pancetta, which was very tasty but slightly spoilt for me by the fact that the waiter was rather too heavy handed with the parmesan. With hindsight, especially as parmesan was already in the dish, I wish I had refused it.
Mrs D opted for Busiate al ragù di Triglie (£12.95), short pasta twist in a ragù of red mullet, pine nuts and anchovies, but with sea bass offered as the fish ingredient as there was no red mullet available.
That, and the margherita pizza (£7.95) chosen by our daughter, were both thoroughly enjoyed.
We were too full to sample one of the four desserts on offer at £5.50 each and with one espresso and the soft drinks, our bill came to a little over £59.