I drive past this building twice a day. For ages it's been the run down Sportsman's Arms: unloved and unoccupied. Then someone appeared to be renovating the building. It had a lick of paint, next a bit of building work, and last of all a spanking new sign. Chianti has been open for a couple of weeks now, so we popped in to see what was going down.
However, things are a changing. Times are tough, and talented chefs need somewhere to call home, earn a decent crust and not be robbed blind by extortionate rents in the process. Jon Jones of The Farmer's Arms is doing wonderful things up in Darcy Lever, and Shebs and the team at Bengal Cottage in Horwich have enjoyed so much success in their first year, that they have just opened a second restaurant in Adlington.
I knew Chianti would go one of two ways with no middle ground. Luckily our gamble paid off. We arrived on a gloomy Friday night, a little damp form the murk outside. We were welcomed by two young ladies with beaming smiles. The restaurant was already quite busy, but they found us a nice table by the window and left us to peruse the menu.
Antipasto Misto Platter: This is a selection of cured meats, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, Mozzarella, bread and salad. Basic, but it did the trick. There's quite a lot here for one person, but it would be ideal to share.
Polpettini: Spiced meatballs in tomato sauce topped with cheese. My husband tried these after reminiscing about the original meatballs from Il Toro back in the day. He said these were just as good if not better. High praise indeed...
Bistecca alla pepe: Sirloin steak in a peppercorn sauce. It's my favourite... Italians just have a way of doing this simple dish really well. This was everything I had hoped. A thick, juicy steak cooked just as I requested. This was outstanding value at just £13.95. It came with a lovely side dish of steamed and oven roasted vegetables, and we ordered a side of chips too.
Pizza Chianti: The house special with Mozzerella, egg, bacon and mushrooms (sans mushrooms in this case!). The dough smelled of freshly baked bread, the edges were perfectly crisp and the bacon was the proper stuff, not reformed ham. This huge pizza was just £5.95. Bargainous.
Desserts - Profiteroles and Banoffee Pie: Chianti have an old school style desserts chiller where you can go and look at the options before you make a choice. I like this! How many times do you order something and it wasn't what you imagined? I couldn't resist having the profiteroles, which were actually large choux buns pumped with fresh cream. Yes they came with squirty cream. Run with it. My husband had the banoffee pie, which was a towering piece of pud with a mountain of fresh cream on top - and yes, it had the quintessential squirt of cream with two cigarillos peeping out of the top!
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