Antipasto Classico

Antipasto Classico

I have only eaten in ASK once before, so I was keen to see what changes had been put in place after a year or so. We were greeted by the manager Gary, who gave us a window seat, overlooking the old market in the Warrington branch and told our waiter would be Sam.

Sam was worth the visit alone, for he was funny, relaxed and friendly. He offered us drinks and then gave us some time to take a glance at the extensive menu. We opted for some Rosemary and Sea Salt Bread and the new Focaccia Mediterranea- irresistible slices of just baked pizza bread stuffed with roasted Santos tomatoes, olives and rosemary for a moreish start to the meal. I would highly recommend this to begin with- between four of you there are two slices each- just enough to line your stomach before your starter.

The light wood floors and yellow and green tiles and terracotta walls provided an instant slice of Italy and the open plan kitchen is always a reassuring site whenever you eat out. You can see you meal as its being prepared, so you know exactly what’s going into it.

The floor to ceiling windows provide you with a full view of the old market and the shops surrounding. On a sunny day, there is seating outside so you can enjoy the entertainment that regularly takes place in the centre of the square.

We were unsure of what to order for our main course, given the vast choice so Sam was on hand to offer his recommendations- he suggested that we try one of the new Pasta Fresca range- fresh egg pasta dressed with special ingredients- from the lobster and king prawns to Italian luganica sausage.

For our starters we enjoyed the Butterfly King Prawns- a sizzling skillet of succulent king prawns, oven roasted on Italian bread, and season with garlic and parsley. These were still in their shell, but each was splayed a little so you could see the fish inside; a unique twist on a classic. The Bruschetta- classic toasted Italian bread with marinated tomatoes, fresh basil and ricotta salata, is always a simple yet very tasty way to start a meal.

My mum is gluten free which has made me more sensitive to what there is on offer for people who suffer from coeliac disease and I was pleased to see that the pasta and pizza dishes can be made with gluten free pasta. In fact the chain has an entire menu set aside for diners who are gluten free.

For our main course I had the Calzone Cacciatore- a hunter’s pizza folder and stuffed with chicken breast, pancetta, mushrooms, fire roasted peppers, olives, tomato sauce and mozzarella, seasoned with rosemary and Grana Padano. Although this was a culmination of many flavours they worked well together, I had to take this home with me as the portions are for healthy appetites indeed! I enjoyed a welcome change to my usual choice of pizza when I eat in an Italian restaurant.  

My husband had the Linguine Carbonara- crispy pancetta in a rich and creamy sauce with pecorino and Grana Padano cheeses. Topped with shavings of Grana Padano. Unlike many other carbonaras, the sauce was not overbearing in this dish. There was just enough to flavour the pasta, however it didn’t drown the rest of the ingredients, like so many other restaurants fall into the trap of. A perfectly balanced pasta dish.

My mother in law took Sam’s advice and tried the new Tagliatelle Con Luganica E Porcini- tender egg pasta cooked with a tomato and garlic sauce enriched with Luganica sausage, borlotti beans, porchini mushrooms and a dash of cream, garnished with a slice of finocchiona salami. The ingredients were a tasty alternative to what is normally quite a simple and plain dish- but the range of flavours made this an instant hit with her. She incidentally, has dined many times at this branch of ASK and said that she has never had a bad meal there, demonstrating that the service is consistent.

Finally my sister in law had the Penne Al Pollo Della Casa- seasoned chicken breast and mushrooms baked with pasta in a creamy mushroom and white wine sauce, topped with Grana Padano cheese and served with a crisp side salad. She asked for it with chips instead of salad, differing from the menu description, however this was not a problem with Sam or the kitchen staff- the restaurant is quite flexible if you want something different from what’s listed.

Sadly none of us could manage dessert as we were far too full; however they did look delicious and for those who can’t manage one on their own there is the new Chocolate Sharing Board so you can all have a little nibble to complete your meal with something sweet.

ASK is the perfect place to retreat to after a long day of retail therapy in the Golden Square Shopping Centre, Warrington or a great pit stop for some takeout food in the middle of your day out. Whether you are looking for an intimate dinner for two, a family meal around a big round table to embrace the sharing and the conversation or simply to grab a coffee and enjoy watching people rush by with their cumbersome bags of shopping- there is a table for everyone  in this restaurant.

Thanks to Sam, Gary and all the staff at ASK who made our visit so fun! 


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