It had been a while since I met two old school friends for a catch up and after much discussion about cooking indoors or getting a takeaway, we decided to treat ourselves to a spot of dinner.
We wanted somewhere that wouldn’t break the bank – this was a before pay-week Thursday night – and my friend suggested Ambrosia an Italian restaurant on the Ormeau Road. I had eaten there previously and enjoyed the food and at only a six-minute walk from my house the location was an added bonus.
I was intrigued by the name Ambrosia which conjured memories of a creamed rice pudding product and going west. I researched the meaning and Ambrosia translates as food of the Gods and with that in mind, this quirky little Italian restaurant had a lot to live up to.
To start with we decided one appetiser between us would suffice and choose Pane – a selection of breads, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, tapenade and an olive oil and balsamic vinegar to share. The olives were deliciously smoky and while I have only recently started liking olives and my sample size is small, these were the best I have tasted yet.
The freshly baked bread and sweet tomatoes were also highlights and along with a lovely crisp glass of Italian Pinot Grigio – a reasonably priced bottle at £14.95 – whetted the appetite.
I choose the Raviolo alla zucca for my main course; three large ravioli filled with roast pumpkin and sweet potato with a Pomodoro sauce. The ravioli filling was sweet and creamy and contrasted nicely with the sharpness of the tomato sauce.
The sauce had a real depth of flavour and was quite chunky with plenty of soft cherry tomatoes … if only I had saved a slice of that bread there was plenty of excess to mop up.
While I really enjoyed my meal, there was one small criticism; personally I would have preferred small raviolis as there is a better ratio of pasta to filling than with the larger version.
One of my friends ordered the penne pasta with a spicy Arrabiata tomato sauce which received a big thumbs up at the end. The other choose the Caesar salad and a side order of Rosemary baby potatoes; the salad was highly recommended by another Ambrosia diner she knew and apparently it met all expectations.
All in all the meal did not disappoint, and while service is fairly quick – delivery of food and the removal of plates is a slick operation – after our meal we still had half a bottle of wine to drink and we didn’t feel pressured to hurry up. So in true Italian style we sat sipping and chittering away, savouring the delicious food we had eaten.
Our total bill came in at just under £60 which is pretty decent for three mains, a bottle of wine and a few other nibbles along the way, making this relaxed Italian restaurant well worth a trip.