A lot has changed since we last reviewed one of Kettering’s most prominent restaurants.
Mangiamo in Market Street has seen Prezzo, Chimichanga and Kino Lounge emerge as major players in the dining out stakes as the Market Place matures into one of the centrepieces of the town’s night-time economy.
And at lunchtime on Valentine’s Day it seemed Mangiamo was suffering at the hands of the competition.Our family of four brought the number of diners at just after 1pm into double figures – although, to be fair, we later learned they were fully booked for Valentine’s Day evening.
When you have been around a while and there are new kids on the block, you have to stick to what you do well and hope that people will remember that.
There is no magic formula to running a great restaurant, but good food has got to be a pre-requisite. And that is what you get at Mangiamo.
The restaurant’s website says it “specialises in Eastern Mediterranean dishes where the food is both healthy and simple. Its dishes have Geek, Italian, Persian and Cypriot influences, resulting in an unusual blend of favours”. That’s pretty accurate.
The menu has changed little in my time, and the quality of the food remains constant.
We decided to share a couple of Mezes and a starter between the four of us.
Before I get into the nitty gritty, it is worth noting that we were not an easy group to cater for. My three-year-old and six-year-old are quite adventurous eaters for their age, but there are certain things that even they will baulk at. And my vegetarian wife has recently been diagnosed as having a wheat allergy, which has further restricted her choices.
Nonetheless, the grilled halloumi along with two of the Mezes – the mixed lives and hummous served with flatbreads, were more than adequate for us.
In fact, the aforementioned six-year-old had to be restrained from eating too many of those lovely olives.
The main menu offers a good selection of pizzas, pastas, fish and meat dishes.
Personally, I always think there is too much choice and could easily choose from a myriad of dishes where ever I go, but I plumped for the mixed grill.
Pretty standard lamb and chicken skewers, but well cooked and served on a bed of rice and salad.
To be honest, and this is hard for a carnivore to say, in hindsight my wife’s gluten free and vegetarian Risotto Verdura was the tastier of the two meals. The Italian rice dish slow cooked with fresh peppers, courgette and spring onions in a white wine, parmesan and cream sauce was superb.
As was my daughter’s pizza with olives.
You can’t really go wrong with pizza, and so it proved, but I have to say the mouthfuls I had were among the best pizza I have tasted in Kettering. Last, but by no means least, the spaghetti Bolognese that Thomas had was also very good – but there was an awful lot of it for a three-year-old choosing off the children’s menu.
We skipped dessert as there was lots to do, but past experience says that the tiramisu is always a good choice.
As ever, my biggest bugbear is the cost of drinks. I’m happy enough to pay nearly £4 for a bottle of cider and over a fiver for a white wine spritzer.
But two apple juices at £2.80 each? Personally, I think restaurants are getting away with murder charging such prices for soft drinks and something should be done about it.
But, enough about that.
The Mangiamo dining experience remains excellent.
The food is good, if a little pricey in places, but there will always be a place for independents doing things well, despite the economies of scale that some of the the new kids on the block can offer.
2 Market Street
DISABLED ACCESS: Access to main front door is via steps.
TOTAL COST: £64.80 (for a family of four)
STAR RATING: 7/10