Restaurant review - Il Padrino, Middlewich
- Credit: Archant
The owner of Alberto Halluni in Holmes Chapel branches out to Middlewich
Every small town needs a trusty, dependable, family-friendly, middle-of-the-road Italian. Up until now Middlewich has been missing one. In fact, it's still missing one. Because, Italian - yes. Family-friendly - yes. But there's nothing middle-of-the-road about its new opening, Il Padrino. Alberto Halluni, the owner of his eponymous Holmes Chapel institution, Don Alberto, admits he took a gamble opening his latest venture, in the sprawling iconic Alhambra building, once the site of a cinema. Middlewich isn't exactly a dining destination. But early forecasts would say it's a gamble that will pay out. It is Saturday and we can only get a reservation for 5pm. With a toddler that suits us fine. As does the spacious, contemporary layout of the place, all deep blues and fern greens and welcoming, curved booths. This is a place for friends and family and fun evenings where perhaps the food doesn't need to be centre stage. And, yet, it can more than hold its own. For starters a perfectly floppy tomato and basil pesto garlic bread, shared alongside a generous helping of large, juicy prawns in a creamy, tomato sauce on ciabatta. For mains, we feel obliged to sample something from the pizza/pasta options and so opt for a salami penne, a thick, flavourful tomato sauce with a medium-spice sausage - a nice kick that doesn't detract from its overall flavour. And the fillet steak in a peppercorn sauce, cooked to a slightly-bloody medium-rare. Alberto is proud of his fillet steaks and so he should be. There was no steak knife required even though one had been placed. Perfectly squidgy profiteroles and a lighter-than-average lemon cheesecake - that came with a side of limoncello - rounded everything off perfectly. No, this isn't a place for incredibly innovative or groundbreaking dishes. But who cares? Because what they do, they do really, really well. And, as importantly, in a neighbourhood place like this, they do it with charm. Alberto is there to greet you and throughout the night you see him crouching down at patron's tables chatting like they are old friends. His young staff are sweet and attentive. It is the kind of place we are already planning to take friends to. Any excuse, really.
Il Padrino, 33 Wheelock Street, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 9AG 01606 837 888