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The Tandem Centre
Tandem Way, Colliers Wood, SW19 2TY
0203 058 3051
Join us at our brand new Bella Italia in Colliers Wood. Come and let us create for you a fun and exciting Italian dining experience where carefully selected authentic products will delight you at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Bella is ideal to treat your loved one on any occasion. Located in the leisure quarter of the Tandem Shopping centre at Bella you will find something for everyone. From generous bowls of pasta to crisp pizzas or gelato (ice cream) brought to you all the way from Pizzo in Italy.
We welcome small groups and big parties.
Update on previous review. We've been back some three months down the line and the experience wasn't duplicated. Staff very friendly and affable but issues again with the drinks order and the delivery of food to the table was slow (possibly a 25 minute wait for mains despite the restaurant only being one third full). Ambience however is still good.
If you go down to the (Colliers) Wood today you're sure of a big surprise because Bella Italia, just this February, has arrived at the Tandem Centre, offering "Italian food just like Mamma makes it" (according to their publicity), and adding a welcome additional eating out option to the north east of the borough. With another branch opened in nearby Kingston only this week, it appears to be a period of expansion for @BellaItalia in SW London.
The double width unit (formerly a travel agents), the latest addition to a row of eateries (Starbucks, Frankie & Benny's and Nandos), has a modern glass frontage and bright and spacious feel interior, both welcoming and suggestive of a 21st dining experience.
Having never knowingly eaten at Bella Italia (although well aware of the brand), we were unsure as to what to expect. There is a school of thought that "the better the restaurant, the smaller the menu" so a preliminary glance at Bella Italia's extensive list of dishes online was not entirely reassuring. A homage to Italian cuisine (anti-pasti, pasta, pizza, classic meat dishes and desserts such as ice-creams and tiramisu) ticked all the right boxes, but with a nod to American 'diner' eating too (steaks and burgers) we were yet to be convinced.
Happily, our review meal out at Bella Italia was very enjoyable in every way, surpassing expectation for our very discerning foodie family, including Thoroughly Merton Milly and The Teen Sensation, for whom Italian food is 'up there' with Thai as restaurant and indeed home cooking meals of choice.
The big window vista, the cream urban graffiti wall, the bonafide scooter at the entrance and paintings of scooters on the wall, the colourful but not overdone decor gave the restaurant a modern contemporary Italian feel. The flow and layout of banquette and traditional wooden table dining affords ease of movement for waiting staff and customers alike (and ample space for highchairs and if need be buggies) without compromising on privacy and a feeling of spaciousness. Not being cramped and outwit earshot of other diners' conversations is one of our main eating out 'musts', so our banquette seating towards the back of the restaurant gave us a relaxing personal space on a busy weekday night. In such a large for London restaurant (where space comes at a financial premium) this is particularly welcome, particularly if you happen to be having a date night! Noise was absorbed well too, so that we could talk normally whilst also enjoying the eclectic background music soundtrack, without being drowned out by the collective chatter of fellow diners.
As I'm sure those of you with families will be only too aware, children are usually at the centre of decision-making about eating out. Our family is no different. Thoroughly Merton Milly and the Teen Sensation are particularly discerning restaurant companions and critics. They both know what they like (or not!). They'd both done their online investigative homework and given the @BellaItalia menu the 'thumbs up'.
The range of drinks on offer was great and we were particularly pleased to see San Pellegrino (the more acceptable and authentic - for an Italian restaurant - face of fizzy soft drinks) on the drinks list - in our opinion usually a sign of a 'quality' establishment. Starters, mains and desserts offered 'the usual suspect' Italian options and some less familiar (to us) dishes, including Arancini Funghi (mushroom rissotto balls), Funghi Arrosto (baked mushrooms), antipasti sharing boards and Insalata Calabrese. Firm family favourite, whitebait, was our starter of choice and we loved the quirky touch, serving in miniature deep fat fryer baskets. Insalata Pomodoro was fresh and delicious, seasoned to perfection with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and black pepper.
Mains enabled us to try dishes 'across the (menu) board' from a Ripiena Crusted Pizza Mista, Bolognese offered with either spaghetti or tagliatelle, Risotto Gamberoni and .......All were very tasty and well-flavoured (as restaurant quality food should be but not always is(, and warming - just what was needed on the cold winter's evening of our review visit. The portion sizes were generous without being greedy, except for Thoroughly Merton Milly's. She'd opted to ditch @BellaItalia's children's set-priced menu' for an adult's portion, afraid that she'd miss out, but it was just too much for her modest appetite. No matter, The Teen Sensation finished her portion off with senior sibling aplomb. What Italian meal would be complete without a dessert though, be it a palate-cleansing sorbet, one of many ices on offer from the Gelato Cart (built into the counter but no matter) or a classic Italian dessert such as tiramisu or pannacotta? Fortunately our 'pudding stomachs' demanded that we sample five 'shot desserts' (taster size pots of Italian American dessert deliciousness), a lovely sharing option, and a Tiramisu. Stand outs were the Mini Pannacotta (milky creaminess contrasted with the sharp morello cherry sauce) and Amaretto Chocolate (delicious and decadently indulgent) ones.
Top marks go to the staff who were friendly, welcoming, attentively efficient without being obsequious, and managed to strike just the right balance of personability and professionalism, with parents and children alike. The only hiccough of the entire evening involved an initial confusion with Thoroughly Merton Milly's lemonade order (which took three attempts to resolve). This could so easily, in less capable hands, have proved a blot on the evening. But the blip was resolved in such a good natured and efficient way, very much reflecting the 'customer is always right' mantra (which should by rights underpin any service industry encounter but so often doesn't), that it was soon forgotten and did not prevent us from having one of the most highly enjoyable and relaxed (we never felt that we were being hurried along in our dining experience) early evening dinners we've had anywhere recently.
You can check out @BellaItalia here (http://www.bellaitalia.co.uk/italian-restaur…/colliers-wood/), and even book your table online. If you're in the area shopping or en route home after work or school, it's an ideal place to stop off for a light and leisurely bite to eat, open 9am-11pm Monday-Saturday and 9am-10.30pm on Sunday.
Unlike many of our locally favoured restaurants, where often one or more family member only enjoys one menu option (limiting long-term appeal), @BellaItalia really does offer sufficient variety to cater well for all tastes including vegetarians, and for regular repeat visits all year round. We are very much looking forward to visiting in warmer climes when a salad main and ice-cream dessert might be more appealing. The food is good, honest and fresh, delivered with a friendly smile, in a relaxing atmosphere and enjoyable surroundings, and with a spectacular, quasi industrial urban view of the once infamous Colliers Wood Tower. With great transport links to it, and free parking (for up to three hours) on its doorstep why not pay it a visit? We'll certainly be back.
(That a national restaurant chain has chosen to establish such a large restaurant (offering circa 180 covers) in Colliers Wood is yet another indication of how 'up and coming' this oft overlooked part of the borough is, with all the regeneration underway including the revamp of 'The Tower' and a new library and flats complex nearby, suggesting the shape of greater things to come for this bit of SW19/CR4).
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