November 2, 2011 City Centre, Italian, New Town 8 Comments

La Lanterna is a staple of Hanover Street, offering a warm welcome in to an Italian family kitchen, in the middle of our fair city. It has its proponents and its detractors, as do all its neighbouring restaurants.

I must admit that my last visit was around the season of Advent, many years ago, and I have to report that I was rather badly behaved. This manifested itself in me eating the roses on the table, petal by petal, and convincing the more gullible members of my party to join me in this “entirely acceptable and routine practice.” No doubt I thought it was terribly amusing at the time.

On this occasion, we chanced to walk up, and managed to time it beautifully, so we were rewarded with an excellent booth table in the window. The restaurant was buzzing with a busy evening service. It became increasingly clear that the majority of diners were repeat visitors, clearly paid-up members of the Lanterna fan-club.

We were quickly asked for our drinks order, while we considered our menu choices. Our reflections were a touch frustrated by the revelation that the days harvest of mussels had been exhausted, but our peerless hostess suggested that their excellent prawns would make a beautiful substitute.

Unbowed by the chilling memory from earlier that day, I asked for a verdict on whether to opt for the soup of the day or to go with the classic minestrone. Minestrone was the recommendation, and I went with it.

Garlic bread with mozzarella rounded out our starter order.

My soup was very tasty. I must admit that minestrone isn’t a particular favourite with me, but this was of a soup of high quality. The accompanying bread was nicely rustic, too. The prawns proved an excellent recommendation, and the baked chunkiness of the garlic bread looked and tasted great.

My fellow diners opted for pasta to follow. The penne con pollo looked creamy and hearty.

The ravioli (I want to call it PPK, Bond style) PPF (or was it FFP) looked somewhat similar with its richly creamy sauce.

My risotto al mare, minus the usual mussels, but with a good number of clams to satisfy the shellfish requirement, was packed with flavour. Every mouthful affirmed my choice as a good one.

Desserts were considered a must, with a simple plate of ice-cream and two portions of cheese quickly ordered.

The ice-cream came with a tempting looking pot of chocolate sauce.

The cheese, although not fully at room temperature, was provided in plentiful amounts, across an excellent range. A couple of really pungent blue cheeses were of particularly satisfying quality.

Coffees followed, before our hostess gave us a little extra treat, pouring us a little sample of home-fashioned sloe gin, which was sweet and fruity with a wonderful streak of decadence.

Overall, La Lanterna served our needs incredibly well. It offers a warm welcome, friendly service, hearty dishes full of satisfyingly home-spun gutsiness, and an atmosphere guaranteed to put you at your ease. Next time you need a little comfort and joy, pop along to La Lanterna and let them feed you. You’ll leave feeling fully refreshed, deeply nourished, and fit to face the world anew.

Colin scores La Lanterna:
4/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
5/5 for service
giving an overall 15/20

Arlene scores La Lanterna:
4/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
5/5 for service
giving an overall 16/20

Blythe scores La Lanterna:
4/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 14/20

Today’s late lunch questers were: Arlene, Colin, Blythe

We ate: garlic bread with mozzarella, prawns, minestrone, penne con pollo, ravioli PPF, risotto al mare, ice cream with chocolate sauce, cheese

We drank: Moretti, Peroni, sloe gin, coffees

We wore: routine Turnbull & Asser tie, dancer’s calves, sensible boots

Total bill: c.£100

La Lanterna on Urbanspoon

Written by TheDudley