Il Michelangelo, Brierley Hill
Il Michelangelo, is where The Commercial pub once stood and is very modern looking with ample parking around the back, writes Andrew Turton.
Well I wasn't sure what to expect to be honest. You don't get many authentic Italian restaurants in the Black Country as far as I know but I heard great things about it so I thought I'd give it a try.
It is based in Brockmoor, just outside Brierley Hill not far from Merry Hill shopping centre if you wanted somewhere to eat but didn't want to go too far laden with bags.
It's open between 12pm and 2,30pm Wednesday to Saturday and from 5pm on evenings. There are also open 12pm to 9pm on a Sunday.
Fair enough, what does it look like?
It stands out from the rest of the main shopping street in Brockmoor which is packed with shops, café and a pub on the corner.
The restaurant is where The Commercial pub once stood and is very modern looking with ample parking around the back.
Once you step inside it is like walking into a sleek stylish Italian ristorante. White stone columns feature around the front reception with opens out to a spacious dining area each side.
The owners have made it feel authentic complete with plants, artwork and Italian music drifting from the speakers.
You also get such a warm welcome when you arrive. I'd never been before but I was treated like an old friend.
Another nice touch was the wide open hatch into the kitchen allowing customers to view as chefs prepare their meals, really adding to the homely feel of the place.
What's on offer on the menu?
It's fair to say there is plenty of choice. My companion and I visited on a midweek lunchtime and were able to get a table easily enough.
There's a great three-course lunch offer costing £7.95 including a starter, main and a coffee or tea.
Other main meals are still available. For starters there are meat and fish platters to share, a fresh soup of the day and others including spicy meatballs.
There are also variations of bread and olives with bruschetta and garlic pizza-style versions on offer.
For real Italian cuisine connoisseurs, the list of main dishes is heaven with almost 50 delicacies to choose from. There are pastas including traditional lasagnes and spaghetti bolognese and pizzas.
Those looking for something different can choose from meat, risotto and fish.
Well with all that choice, did the food taste any good?
An easy answer, yes! With we were given complimentary bread and olive oil to start before I plumped for gamberoni all' aglio – mushrooms sautéed in garlic butter and white wine with toasted Italian bread. The mushrooms absorbed some of sharp sauce while retaining their flavour.
The toast also added a nice contrast. The homemade potato and vegetable soup was also a good choice – very creamy and packed with taste.
For my main meal I had a penne all' arrabbiata – spicy sausage, roast red pepper, tomato and chilli sauce.
It was just up my street. Hot, spicy with all the different flavours complimenting each other.
The traditional lasagne also went own well – it was thickly cut, with several layers that each added flavour as opposed to being bland.
Staff also offer pepper and parmesan to taste.
Good so far then, what was the service like?
The service was great. Michelangelo's prides itself on being a family-run business and you get that sense from the moment you arrive.
The waitress was immediately chatty, helping us with our meal choice and suggesting the best drinks to go with our food.
The restaurant hosts a range of theme nights and has live singers most weeks to add to the fun.
Okay, so what's the overall verdict?
Michelangelo's is a little gem and is well worth a visit. Our bill came to around £23 with drinks which is better value than most pubs. The superb service also added to the experience.
Il Michelangelo: 34 Cressett Lane, Brockmoor, Brierley Hill, DY5 3JA.
Tel: 01384 74405
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