Along with a ground floor deli and cafe, Valentina Mezzanine Restaurant serves up classic Italian food at good prices.
Valentina is a big upstairs/downstairs space that’s been split into deli, cafe and restaurant. Upstairs, the mezzanine restaurant is fashioned with large floor to ceiling windows, wooden floors, low lighting and walls lined with comfy leather seating. Whilst the look of the restaurant is modern and sleek, it manages to retain a family element to it, with old black and white family photographs adorning the walls.
There’s a real buzz here, where the sound of soft Italian music is easily overshadowed by the lively purr of diners. The clientele is a mix of couples and professionals and the staff are incredibly friendly and very professional.
Good, hearty Italian food is the order of the day at Valentina, where there’s a real home is where the heart is approach to the menu. Pasta dishes are of course on offer while there’s a good selection of meat dishes too. This is real Italian food.
For starters (between £4 and £7.50), the antipasto classic platter offers a selection of cured meats from the deli downstairs. Flavoursome chorizo, prosciutto and several different salamis are complemented with a thick, homemade red pepper salsa that’s pleasantly mild. This one is great for meat lovers. The insalata caprese - buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil - is gorgeously fresh. Presented on a wooden board and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, the flavours are delicate, the cheese is light and creamy and the dish comes together perfectly.
Mains include grilled lamb cutlets, baked sea bass and grilled chicken salad. The pollo funghi e taleggio is a mountain of a dish that’ll certainly fill you up. A whole chicken breast sitting on a large potato and covered in a rich mushroom, cheese and white wine sauce, the flavours are delicious despite the chicken being slightly dry. The rib eye is very crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, but the meat has a bitterness to it due to the char grilling which some may find unpleasant. It’s covered with a rocket salad and some very strong Parmesan shavings that are somewhat overpowering. Pasta dishes include homemade spinach and ricotta ravioli, tagliatelle al limone and very tempting meatballs wrapped in speck ham with bolognaise. Mains are priced between £8 and £15.
If you can squeeze in dessert (£4 to £7), the warm pear cake is a great choice. It’s rich in fruity flavour and the texture is mousse-like and fluffy. For something lighter, try the ice cream. Served in its original Marine Ices tub with a thick piece of wafer, the chocolate flavour is dense and delicious.
Wine, wine and more wine. There are so many options you could spend all night poring over Valentina’s wine list. The menu is divided into Italy’s wine regions, so you can take your pick from Tuscany’s finest reds, a dozen or so drops from the Veneto region or a selection of Sicilian grapes. And there’s something to suit every budget with wines from £12 a bottle and up.
The Last Word
Valentina Mezzanine Restaurant is a top place to dine out in. The quality of the food is amazing, the vibe is energetic and the prices are just right. If you like Italian food, you’ll love Valentina.