MEAL REVIEW: Italia Plus, The Coquetvale, Rothbury

Marinara pizza
Marinara pizza

Italian food is a well-known favourite across the country, but some do it better than others, and for us Coquetvale is one of those.

A grey autumnal night led us to the Rothbury hotel’s Italia Plus restaurant for an early evening meal.

Calamari

Calamari

With a hungry husband and toddler in tow, I hoped my choice was a good one – and I wasn’t let down.

Based on Station Road, the Coquetvale is not in the centre of the village and therefore probably doesn’t catch as much passing trade as the other eateries.

But the extra walk or drive is worth it.

It’s not the most disabled-friendly venue, with a fair few steps up to the restaurant.

Pate

Pate

Once you’re inside, you’re greeted by a dark wood-panelled room with a big bar at the front and a dining area to the back.

Dark oak tables, set out with balloon wine glasses, made it look extra special and I thought maybe taking along a toddler wasn’t the best idea.

But looking around, another family had a baby with them and there were children sitting elsewhere.

Italia Plus prides itself on its Italian menu, but also has a number of specials on offer.

Sticky toffee pudding

Sticky toffee pudding

Having perused the extensive menu, which includes a good selection of starters, pizza and pasta for main courses as well as meat and fish dishes and specials, we had decided on our options.

A big lover of fish and seafood, I plumped for the tempura battered calamari (£5.25) to start followed by the marinara pizza (£8.95) for my main course.

Mr M decided to go for the pâté di pollo (chicken liver pâté, £5.75) and the tagliatelle padrona (pasta with beef, ham, pepperoni, jalapeños and a spicy tomato sauce, £8.95).

For the little one we chose the children’s menu for £6.95, which includes a starter of breadsticks with garlic mayonnaise, a choice of pizza, pasta bolognaise or sausage or chicken nuggets and chips, a pudding and a drink.

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta

We chose the pasta bolognaise.

Other options included a filleto rossini steak (fillet steak on pâté in a red wine sauce, £24.95); agnello casseruola (rustic Italian lamb casserole, £11.95) as well as numerous fish dishes and different kinds of pizza and pasta.

Our starters arrived quickly and we were all impressed.

Our toddler loved the novelty of breadsticks in a mini teacup and her garlic mayonnaise was perfect for her little palate. My calamari was lovely and fresh; big chunks in a light and crispy tempura batter and were served with a side salad and garlic mayonnaise.

The words ‘this is awesome’ were said opposite as he tucked into the pâté.

A big slice of the smooth chicken liver pâté was served with a decent chunk of toasted crispy bread and salad as well as a tangy onion chutney which, I’m told, matched the flavours well.

The Coquetvale, Rothbury

The Coquetvale, Rothbury

We didn’t have to wait long for the mains, which were well presented.

They certainly didn’t skimp on the topping of my pizza.

There were lots of mussels, some cockles, prawns and bits of squid with a decent amount of mozzarella and a handful of rocket on top.

It was served on a wooden pizza board with a pizza-cutter, which added to the authenticity.

Across the table, the pasta also went down well.

There were lots of pieces of meat, in quite big chunks, with a fair amount of jalapeños and spice to give it a kick.

The little one’s pasta bolognaise was another hit, and came without too much sauce, which is always a plus for the parents.

With just enough room left for dessert, we decided to take a look.

The menu was brought to us on a handheld chalkboard, which was a nice touch.

I chose the Cartmel sticky toffee pudding, while the panna cotta was served across the table and a bowl of ice cream for the toddler.

Other options included cheesecake and a flourless chocolate torte.

Sticky toffee is one of my favourites and I like a lot of sauce – just the way it was served. A nice dollop of ice cream rounded it off perfectly.

The panna cotta was creamy and topped with a decent amount of fruit compote.

All in all, a great early evening meal for all the family.

The prices are good for the quality of food on offer and the service from the young waiting staff was excellent.

A great addition to the Rothbury food and drink scene.

SUNDAY ROASTS, THEMED NIGHTS AND EVENTS

While the Italia Plus restaurant is a mainstay at the Coquetvale, they also do a roaring trade in Sunday lunches, which come with very good reviews.

The hotel also posts promotions, special offers and even special hotel stays on its Facebook page and there are also a host of events coming up including murder mystery night, themed menu evenings and Christmas parties to name just a few.

SELECTION FROM THE MENU

ANTIPASTI

Melon and parma ham......£4.95

Tomato and mozzarella salad......£4.95

Antipasti misti (to share)......£9.95

CARNE

Fillet steak......£23.95

Sirloin steak......£17.95

SPECIALITA DELLA CASA

Chicken cacciatore......£11.45

Marinated chicken......£9.95

PASTA

Lasagne......£8.95

Penne salmone......£10.95

Penne arrabiata......£6.95

PIZZA

Margherita......£6.95

Pepperoni......£8.95

Calzone pollo......£9.95

DESSERTS......all £3.95

Mango and passionfruit cheesecake; flourless chocolate torte.

STAR RATINGS......(out of 10)

Quality of food......8½

Choice......9

Vegetarian choice......6

Value for money......8½

Atmosphere......8

Use of local food (not stated)......5

Service......8½

Access for disabled......5

Toilet for disabled......No

Overall rating......

Verdict: Good Italian food in a great setting with plenty of choice and brilliant customer service.

Contact: 01669 622900 and {http://www.coquetvale.co.uk|www.coquetvale.co.uk| or on Facebook under Coquetvale Hotel.