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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Things to do in Kettering - Bella Sicilia (Italian restaurant)

Arturo & his accordion (from the Facebook group)
From the outside Bella Sicilia doesn't look like much; it could almost be a basic take-away*, or even the reception for a small double-glazing firm, but walk through the main door and a surprising thing happens: you are transported to a little piece of Italy (or, rather, Sicily).

I don't know much about authenticity when it comes to Sicilian food and decorations, but this place certainly played up to my expectations- the decor is light and airy; basic yet inviting. The atmosphere when I arrived was immediately friendly and, although the tables (and therefore diners) are fairly closely packed it didn't feel claustrophobic.

Our drinks order was taken and menus provided shortly after we had been seated. Throughout the evening the service was fairly slow, but this was not a bad thing: we were in no hurry and there was certainly none of the feeling so often experienced in other venues that you're being herded in and out as quickly as possible. Maybe 'laid back' would be a better description than 'slow', with this in mind! My food was excellent, with both quality and quantity being high enough to leave me satisfied, and some of my companions enthusiastically expressed similar sentiments. The rest of the diners all appeared to be enjoying their food, of which there was (to me) an unusual and exotic array.

After we had finished eating, the owner of the establishment appeared with an accordion and a tambourine and skilfully played a variety of songs, including Happy Birthday, some Frank Sinatra numbers and what I assume were some traditional Italian/ Sicilian songs, with accompaniment provided by various diners on the latter instrument. After this entertainment, the restaurant's sound system played some Sicilian classics like Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Brown Eyed Girl until we left, after having paid around £230 between seven of us. This works out at about £33 each for two courses plus drinks - not cheap, but hardly bank-breaking either.

I was impressed with Bella Sicilia, and would not be upset at the thought of visiting again at some point in the future. It was a fun evening with great food and unexpected entertainment at a decent price. If you want to mark an occasion with something different, you could do a lot worse than Bella Sicilia.




* Bella Sicilia does offer a take-away service, but I haven't used it.