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Shop hard, eat harder!
3:44pm Thursday 12th July 2012 in Eating Out Reviews
It was once a key part of the town’s industrial foundations, now it plays a key part in feeding the town’s shoppers.
STEPHEN WEBB visited Bottelino’s in the old Pattern Store
The Pattern Store,
Swindon SN2 2BA
Tel: 01793 887710
Open: Mon-Sat noon to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 11pm; Sun noon to 9pm
SHOPPING and eating out go together like Marks and Spencer. Or Frankie and Benny.
So if you’re feeling famished after traipsing around Swindon’s designer outlet shopping centre, a restaurant across the road will give you the sustenance you require.
Like the designer outlet, Bottelino’s is located in a part of the former railway works – the pattern store to be precise – and while the exterior looks little different from the days when it was part of Swindon’s industrial heyday, the interior has been turned into a bright and airy Italian restaurant.
The obvious choice at an Italian restaurant to silence rumbling tummies after a retail runaround would be a hearty helping of pasta, or a large, tasty pizza.
The pizza menu is extensive – I’ve had the quattro formaggi on a previous visit and it’s delicious – and it’s nice to see there are variations on familiar recipes. The pasta menu is equally tempting.
But on this occasion, visiting after a hard day’s work rather than a hard day’s shopping, we opted for something different.
There is a great selection of breads and antipasti and I decided to have the antipasto misto (£9.95), a traditional mix of Italian hors d’oeuvres. It’s a cliche to say a starter is good enough and big enough to have as a main course, but this one was. The beautifully presented dish included meats and cheeses, anchovies, tuna, a small pile of crunchy, fresh salad, crackers and a warm roll. It’s a starter... but I didn’t know where to start.
For £5 you can have a bigger helping to share, but not this time – my wife loves her calamari and with two types on offer, she was in heaven. She chose the calamari fritti (£6.95) – squid coated in seasoned flour and deep fried – and enjoyed it. The coating was crisp and tasty, and she liked the generous salad garnish.
I had the sirloin steak (£15.95) for my main course, and chose to have the Bottelino sauce with it, for £2.75 extra. It was a good cut of meat, cooked just right, and the rich sauce, with cream, mushrooms and brandy, complemented it perfectly.
I had some nicely cooked chips with my steak, and there was yet more of that salad.
Across the table, pollo genovese (£13.95) was chosen. This was a chicken breast in a cream, spinach and pesto sauce. The chicken had a nice texture and the sauce was “flavoursome but not overpowering, and plenty of it”.
It was accompanied by fresh veg – carrot batons, cauliflower cheese, green beans and sauteed new potatoes.
There was a tempting array of puds on the dessert menu, but this being an Italian restaurant, we both fancied some ice cream. We had a couple of scoops (£2.50) each; pistachio and vanilla for me, pistachio and Irish coffee for my wife. It was delicious.
The bill, at just under £70 with drinks, could have made this an expensive shopping trip, but there is something at Bottelino’s to suit all budgets as well as tastes, and it’s worth checking out some of their special offers – a lunchtime/early evening any pasta or any pizza for £5.95 is worth checking out.
And if you do combine a visit with a shopping trip, make sure you do the shopping first – Bottelino’s portions are generous.