Restaurant review: Il Forno in Baldock

Italian restaurant Il Forno provides a warm welcome, good food and great service,<br/><br/>as Damion Roberts discovers

About the restaurantIl Forno is one of two Italian eateries in a town where numerous restaurants compete for customers’ tastebuds. The venue is located in a 16th century listed building on the main, historic High Street in the centre of Baldock.

First impressionsThe single front door opens to the bar area, with a small dining area of four tables to the right and more tables deeper into the building. Customers are met by warm and welcoming staff.

Atmosphere and decorThe decor is traditional with paintings of Venice and flowers hanging on the wall, while wooden beams contrast the light, decorated walls. The dining area to the front of the building is small and conversations can be overheard at other tables, but the smaller room adds to the homely feel of the restaurant.

ServiceThe welcome at Il Forno is a warm one, and guests are seated at their tables and waited on by polite staff who, although happy to have a conversation with customers, keep themselves in the background.

The menuThe restaurant menu has four pages with the starters followed by the pasta dishes, the meat and fish dishes and then desserts and coffees. There is a good choice of dishes on each page with around 10 starters, eight pasta dishes, 10 main meals and five desserts. In addition to the house menu there is also a chalkboard menu with another 15-20 dishes and this is brought to customers and kept at their table while the staff prepare the ordered drinks.

To startI opted for the homemade sausage with a tomato sauce with polenta. The sausage was cooked perfectly while the sauce and polenta gave the dish a good texture. My eating companion opted for a different starter, choosing a mozzarella and goats cheese salad with parmesan, balsamic dressing with olives. A dish which tasted fresh and was served in a good-sized portion.

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For mainAlthough several pasta dishes appealed, yours truly decided to tuck into a meat combo, with lamb, steak, chicken, homemade sausage and tomato covered in a pepper sauce. Despite having a bit too much sauce, the dish was delicious and the steak cooked as requested. My partner had parmigiane; chicken with cheese and ham in a tomato sauce. Again there was too much sauce, but once you parted the waves the food was of high standard and there were no complaints.

To finishFor dessert there were five options, and between us we put spoons to plates on a tiramisu and chocolate profiteroles. The latter were not as cold as they could have been but had a good taste and the chocolate was soft and dreamy. The tiramisu, too, was creamy and tasty.

Our experienceHomely, Il Forno is a very welcoming and delightful surprise in a beautiful town; the restaurant serves food as good as the owners’ smiles.

The cost of a three-course meal for two was �53.35 including three soft drinks and an Italian lager.

Il Forno48 High StreetBaldock, SG7 6BJ01462 491110

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