Review: Strada

2 Oct

The first of many reviews of local eateries and markets. Let me be clear from the start that I have zero training as a food or restaurant blogger, and am doing nothing more than sharing the things that are important to me as a parent and new arrival to the area.  Take everything with a grain of salt (or maybe some crushed garlic) and enjoy.

I’ll apologize in advance to Strada as we were not at our best the night we visited.  The adults were falling asleep from jetlag (seriously, right in to our dinners, it was embarrassing), and the kids were in that wound-up state of over-tiredness that is most mothers’ nightmare.

Strada
http://www.strada.co.uk/location/cheltenham
6 – 7 Montpellier Street
Cheltenham
GL50 1SX
Tel: 01242 253 410

Ambiance
Strada has a popular location in the downtown area.  One side of the restaurant faces the Montpellier Gardens and the other faces a busy street and the also-popular Montpellier Wine Bar.  Outside tables seem to fill with the see-and-be-seen crowd, and looked perfect for people watching.  We sat inside, which is comfortable and modern.  Although the space is small, it’s cleverly arranged and our table felt private.  The service here was friendly, unobtrusive, and courteous.  The meals were agonizingly slow to arrive, which we might not have noticed so much if the kids had been behaving.

Kid-friendly
I was encouraged to see several tables with children, with ages ranging from babies to teens.  The child menu is not large but it had the major kid-pleasers — chicken, pizza, and pasta.  Their  menu comes with crayons and carries some simple games and has room to draw.

Food
The pizzas were nothing special.  They were done in a crunchy thin-crust style that I do prefer, but there was more cheese than sauce.  Kids were satisfied; husband (the pizza expert) was not impressed.  I had the insalata fregolona, a warm salad with goat cheese, roasted vegetables, rocket, and the couscous-like pasta fregola.  It was underwhelming, flavorless, and required the addition of salt, pepper, and chili oil to gain any flavor at all.   In my opinion it was a mistake to use an aged goat cheese in this salad, where a fresh chevre might have brought more brightness.  The texture of the pasta was good, but it tasted like dishwater.  The child’s spaghetti pomodoro was equally flavorless.  The portion size was suitable but no one wanted to eat it.  The pasta was again cooked well but it might as well have been coated with red food dye for all the (lack of) flavor.

Value
At 6 pounds per kids meal, 10 pounds for the adult entrees we chose and about 6 pounds per glass of wine, it was probably in keeping with this area of town but overall not much value for the food.

Recommendation
For a casual pizza with the kids in this area, this could be bearable, if pricey.  Nothing on the menu is calling us to return.

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