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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Fellinis, Ambleside

YOU know when you discover a really good restaurant and are torn between wanting to let everyone know about it, and wanting to keep it a secret so you can always get a table?

That’s exactly how I feel about Fellinis at Ambleside.

Inexplicably, this chic Ambleside eatery had dipped under my radar and it was only when booking a table at one of my favourite restaurants, Zeffirellis, online that I discovered Fellinis. Intrigued by the promise of ‘Vegeterranean’ cuisine, I changed my booking from Zeffirellis to Fellinis immediately, and then went away to look up the meaning of ‘Vegeterranean’.

I knew I was going to love Fellinis from the moment I walked in. The décor is so stylish, pressed white tablecloths, oversized light fittings, cosy booths, and banquettes. It promised to be a fine dining experience and I hoped the food could live up to the surroundings.

After a warm welcome by the Fellinis’ staff we were shown to our table. The drinks order of a glass of house red and an organic blood orange and mandarin pressé was quickly taken, and delivered so efficiently, I had to ask for more time to peruse the delights of the menu.

After much deliberation, the starters were chosen. I opted for the Mediterranean courgette and tomato tart and for my dining companion, the Parmesan and polenta rounds.

Both starters proved to be delicious. The tart was hot and crisp with a fresh tomato and courgette filling. It was served with cheese shavings (the menu said Parmesan but I think it was more Jarlsberg or Edam), balsamic dressing and intensely flavoured micro-basil. The classic flavours worked beautifully together. It was perfectly balanced with no one flavour overpowering the others.

The polenta and Parmesan had been formed into balls and deep-fried. They were crisp on the outside with a lovely soft centre delicately flavoured with the cheese. They were accompanied by salad, really good quality olives and the sweetest and most tomatoey tomatoes we have ever tasted.

I was worried that the mains could not live up to the standard of the starters, but happily, I was proved wrong.

I had the red pepper rolls with lemon risotto and garlic and chive cream. The filled and roasted red peppers were sweet and delicious and perfectly complimented the tangy lemon risotto, which had just the right amount of gloop without being too heavy. The dish was accompanied by green beans, which added much needed texture.

The red lentil and mushroom gratin was just as delicious. A good sized stack of soft lentils and sautéed mushrooms topped with toasted breadcrumbs. It was served with crunchy fried cabbage and the sweetest and most carroty carrots we have ever tasted.

The main dishes are substantial but in no way heavy, leaving plenty of room for pudding.

The desert menu offers dishes as unique and interesting as other dishes on offer. We chose the almond and white chocolate brownie and the baked peaches with caramel sauce.

The peach (served whole) was soft and perfectly baked and came with fresh raspberries and vanilla ice-cream. The dish was fresh and light – a perfect way to end the meal. The brownie was rightfully moist and sticky with a hidden layer of white chocolate. That too came with the same smooth ice-cream.

The total bill came to £52.30, which was good value for money. An even better deal combines two of my favourite things, film and food. Fellinis dinner and cinema offer, is available every evening. A two course dinner (either a starter and main or main and desert) with reserved cinema seats, costs £19.95 per person.

More information including film listings see www.fellinisambleside.com

I’d like to keep Fellinis all to myself but I can’t... book your table now.

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