Mamma Mia! Gem of an experience

NDET 19-11-12 RKH 2 Sandro's Clowne
NDET 19-11-12 RKH 2 Sandro's Clowne

Red, white and green was certainly the theme running through this quaint little Italian restaurant which seemed to celebrate everything about the nation, from posters of Lambrettas to photos of beautiful Italian villages. I was instantly transported from Clowne to the Amalfi coast.

Red, white and green was certainly the theme running through this quaint little Italian restaurant which seemed to celebrate everything about the nation, from posters of Lambrettas to photos of beautiful Italian villages. I was instantly transported from Clowne to the Amalfi coast.

Looking over the extensive mouth-watering menu and specials board, I wondered how a small restaurant could cope with this huge choice of home-cooked meals, but each dish was lovingly prepared by its experienced owner and chef, Sandro.

For my starter I opted for his Melanzane Alla Parmigiana, an aubergine dish in tomato sauce with mozzarella. I have cooked this dish many times at home, chosen this dish many times when I have eaten out, but this has to be the best melt-in-your-mouth experience I have ever had. Cooked to perfection and only £4.50, I will be tempted next time to ask for this as my main course.

The specials board had a wide range of foods from lamb, sea bream and sea bass, to veal and of course a steak. Each dish had its own different sauce to add exciting flavours of the dish, like the duck in an orange brandy, cream and rosemary sauce (£13.95). I stuck to the menu and ordered pancakes filled with mixed cheese topped with white sauce. I asked if there was a side order of chips I could order, Sandro just laughed and offered me his roast potatoes which were amazing, and a very suitable substitute.

Although I was too full for dessert, I was swayed by the home-made delights at only £3.50 each. I opted for his Carprese, which is a rich chocolate cake made from a secret family recipe. This was served with homemade ice cream and was really tasty. Sandro was eager to see if I enjoyed it, obviously very proud of his cooking and his little empire in Clowne.

On enjoying every part of my meal there, I chatted to some regulars who go back week on week. They say it’s always busy at weekends, that sometimes you can’t get through the door.

I will definitely be going to see Sandro again for a quality meal that doesn’t hurt your wallet and a place where you can take your own booze and soak up the atmosphere.

Rating: Five stars.

Sandro’s

Mill Street

Clowne

01246 813028