Contemporary Italian food in stylish modern surroundings. Well worth a visit.
Situated on Walton Street in trendy Jericho, Branca is within 10 minutes walk of the town centre and surrounded by some excellent bars and pubs. The restaurant itself is spacious and stylishly designed with lots of wood and polished steel and even has an olive tree growing out of the floor.
Branca has a buzz about it and manages to be sophisticated without being overly pretentious. The crowd that go there tend to be young and trendy, attracted by the sleek glass frontage and decor. The staff are well presented and polite but can seem a little standoffish and uninterested if the restaurant isn't full.
Branca serves a blend of traditional and more modern Italian cuisine from a wide and varied menu with plenty of vegetarian options and prices that mean there is something for everyone. The lunch special on a weekday offers a choice of pizza, pasta or risotto with a glass of wine or beer for £6.45 and they offer an early supper until 7pm on a weekday for £10.45 which gives you two courses and a drink. If you go for the full three courses and wine you can expect to pay upwards of £30.
The food itself is well presented and never overcomplicated. The salads are crisp with well flavoured dressings, the antipasti is well sourced and you can have it tapas style if you want a more varied meal. The meat dishes pay homage to the trend for locally sourced produce with dishes such as Gloucester old spot pork belly with salsa verde, and there's a good selection of traditional Italian stone baked pizzas.
The pudding menu is equally attractive, and if there are a few of you, you can opt for a selection plate with four different desserts with pannacotta, lemon tart, chocolate tart and praline semifeddo.
Branca offers a good selection of cocktails which seem a little overpriced at £6.45 each, but if you don't fancy a cocktail the old staple of Italian restaurants - Peroni - is available in bottles along with the slightly darker and more interesting Bira Moretti. The wine list is predominantly Italian with a couple of Chilean wines and they do make an excellent espresso.
The Last Word
A highly successful attempt to modernise the traditional Trattorria. Good food in stylish surroundings that will leave you wanting more.