As fun as it is to get dressed up, round up your favourite people and head out to the newest gastronomic debut, sometimes restaurant quality food delivered direct to your pyjama clad self, to be eaten from the comfort of the couch, is all that will do.
Enter Italian Taste. Billing themselves as an authentic Italian takeaway, the Burley-based team serve up comforting Italian classics with a twist. Starters (£3-6) range from arancino – stuffed deep-fried rice balls – to homemade Italian meatballs in tomato sauce, and creamy sauteed wild mushrooms, with mains (£7 – 13) encompassing the flavours of Italy – think spicy gnocchi, aubergine parmigiana, or classic Neapolitan based pizzas.
Italian Taste is takeaway only, so we ordered early afternoon, and were pleased when our food arrived piping hot and in great time. First up were the starters. The vegetarian arancino, stuffed with aubergine, tomato sauce and ricotta cheese, was encased in mouth wateringly crisp breadcrumbs, and the fillings were generous and well-seasoned. The adorable, perfectly sized mini fried calzone came filled with sweet tomato and oozy salty mozzarella. The deep fried Ascolana olives were stuffed with meat – something we had never tried before – and were another hit: salty, crunchy and moreish.
The mains were both equally well received. Our Pizza Bufalina with tomato, mozzarella and basil was served on a light, airy and flavoursome base, with the perfect amount of mozzarella. The grilled chicken fillet was perfectly cooked and not a bit dry, and the accompanying rosemary roast potatoes had soaked up some of the seasoning from the chicken, making them even more delectable – although they could have been a touch crispier! We didn’t order any sides, although classics including grilled vegetables, parmesan French fries and a rocket and parmesan salad are also available.
I have an insatiable sweet tooth so am slightly biased, but our desserts were without a doubt the highlight. The pistachio Sicilian cannolo was heavenly – light sweet ricotta cream wrapped in crunchy deep-fried pastry with fresh chopped pistachios – the portion was generous, but it was so delicate and tasty that I could have eaten another three. The intriguingly named dark chocolate salami looked like a chocolate version of the real thing! A little log of dark chocolate studded throughout with digestive biscuits. It sounds simple but the flavour was amazing, and the salami managed to be both decadent and light at the same time.
Italian Taste also offers an on-site deli, serving Italian meats and cheeses such as Scamorza cheese, Gorgonzola, Spaniata Piccante salami and Speck, all served by weight, a perfect treat to pick up for a picnic by the waterside close by. The eatery is a solid option for the taste of classic Italy, delivered direct and without the airfare. Speedy delivery, a well-cooked and generously portioned menu, and cannolo we’ll be dreaming of until our next order. Saluti!
Italian Taste: 7 Weaver Street, Leeds, 07543 769 461
Photography by Asli Champion.