AFTER ten days of Christmas fare we thought something quite different would be a pleasant change.

Bella Pasta was offering a deal. This could not be overlooked unless it included pasta and turkey!

So for £5.95, we investigated the one-course meal leaving our options open to increase it to two courses (£7.95) or three for £9.95.

We were shown two menus. One was divided into Antipasti, Secondi and Dolci; the other had the limited offer.

Although not too venturesome, Ann enjoys some Italian food but decided the special menu did not stimulate her taste buds. Long past Hallowe’en, the soup of the day was pumpkin. Maybe not, but either cannelloni (£7.95) or the lasagne al forno (£8.25) would be fine. The latter won the day.

I made my choice from the special menu.

While I ate my starter, Ann waited patiently although she was tempted to try my mushrooms with spinach and bacon served on toast.

We both agreed that it was delicious and piping hot.

The lasagne arrived with the warning that the dish was extremely hot. Readers will know that we never complain about hot plates. Just the opposite.

My options were pizza or pasta. I chose the pasta penne with mushrooms, fully aware that my first course also included mushrooms.

Because strips of penne have quite a large surface area they tend to cool quickly but in this case the plate was so hot that the food remained hot to the last mouthful.

The pasta had been cooked to perfection and the sauce was delicious.

The walls are decorated with an interesting collection of Italian posters and although the tables are closely set there was no feeling of being crowded.

I investigated the ‘toletta’ upstairs but I think there are facilities downstairs for disabled customers.

And our verdict? This was one of the best Italian meals we have eaten for a long time – although service for everyone seemed on the slow side.