Valentino but no Rudolph

I used to live in Bingley, West Yorkshire and frequented Valentino’s many a Friday night.  One of my favourite places for friendly and rustic, if slightly over garlicked and over-buttered fayre.

So when invited back for a birthday party recently, I was interested to see if the old fella was still there.  The welcome was as warm as ever and Valentino remembered me (that’s the thing about an Italian welcome – they are great at pretending they know you, I’m sure he must have wondered who the hell I was.)

Valentino’s was founded in MCMXCV which sounds like a long time ago, but by my reckoning is 1995.  I double checked my Roman maths by going to Google and typing “MCMXCV in Arabic” and the answer was duly computed.  Isn’t Google totally awesome (say this out loud in a nasal teenage American twang).

Its a good job they have been there for a few years because serving a table of 12 in a small restaurant must be a real nightmare.  One needs practice.  I thought they excelled at getting the right food in the right place at the right time.  I tried to avoid dishes that might be over-buttered or over-garlicked and plumped for the Antipasto Misto – the usual bresaola, mortadelli, salami milano and proscuitto.  Nice, but tons of salad and a bit over-dressed.  I followed this with Tagliatelle Casa Nuova.  Not a dish I’d seen before, pasta with chicken fillet, petit pois and a creamy tomato sauce.  I loved it.

This is more than can be said for the wine but in fairness we went for the cheapest on the menu.  The red choice was Cantina Faccagnini 2004 Montepulciano at £14.  Now I normally like Montepulciano but this one was tannic and tasted of cheap Haribo jellies.

The white was not much better.  The Banear Friuli Pinot Grigio at £15 was bland like 90% of Italian PGs.  Harmless but no depth.  Still marginally the better of the two wines.

At those prices I’m not even going to bother Googling them for retail prices.  In any case, I can’t accuse my old friend Valentino of rip-off markups, whether he remembers me or not.

I’m not sure if this is a bad review or a good one – I guess I would definitely recommend going there if you are in the area, if only for the warmest of welcomes.  Spend a bit more on wine than we did though.

Valentino, Ristorante Italiano.  59 Main Street, Bingley, West Yorks.  BD16 2HZ  T: 01274 566516

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