review by Janine Pulford
If you Google Italian food you will find that one of the 10 best things to eat in Italy is Spaghetti alla Carbonara (Rome). It’s hardly surprising therefore to find this delicious and creamy dish on the menu at Amarone in Ringwood.
Turi and Nino, from Napoli, south east of Rome, serve what I would say is the best spaghetti I’ve tasted in a long time. The praise falls squarely on Nino’s shoulders as he is the chef. Turi works in the front of house, and is well liked by his customers, as was evident on the night Nick and I visited.
After checking the menu and umming and ahhing over pizza, risotto and even steak, we both decided on almost the same dish! Is that really what happens when you’ve been married for 43 years? Turi didn’t mind a jot: “You must eat what you want, and enjoy,” he said.
So Nick chose a bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara with bacon, egg yolks, cream and white wine and mine was Spaghetti Puttanesca described as being with anchovies, capers, olives, chilli and tomato sauce. Despite this being a food review, we felt justified in having the same main ingredient, because it was paired with entirely different sauces.
Our starters were more individual with Nick receiving a plate of Gamberi Impanati, pan fried tiger prawns, breaded and served with sweet chilli dipping sauce. They were not butterfly-shaped as Nick was expecting, but my goodness they were succulent and disappeared rather quickly. Meanwhile I savoured Insalata Tricolore with the most juicy, fruity tomatoes, avocado and mozzarella that melted in the mouth with homemade basil dressing. It was scrumptious. The generous starters had followed a dish of olives, bread and dressing that was placed on the table soon after we arrived.
Back to the mains. Nick’s was very rich and creamy and when I tasted, I found the notes of bacon slightly smoky. The texture and flavours were excellent, but my puttanesca was far superior in my opinion, although I am sure Nick would argue the point.
I love salt and was excited to see that the capers and black olives were in plentiful supply. There was a warm kick of chilli in the rich tomato sauce. Turi ground some fresh black pepper over the top and this really popped in the mouth and grated parmesan was offered in plentiful amounts. I could have eaten my putanesca all night. When a dish sings to you, there is nothing better than enjoying the serenade. It wasn’t until writing this review that I realised I couldn’t remember eating anchovies – perhaps they were in the sauce.
Should we have eaten dessert after such a fabulous main course? Not really. But we did.
A rich lemon cheescake with ice cream and limoncello nearly defeated Nick and a tiramisu with amaretto, which was deliciously light and fluffy, was a perfect end to an Italian meal to remember.
Nino and Turi are proud to serve fresh cooked food, with some ingredients sourced from Italy. The desserts, lovingly created in house, were delightful and made to Nino’s unique recipes.
The good food, intimate surroundings and Italian music make this the “go to” Italian restaurant for me and it was obvious on the night we visited, that it has a strong base of local customers.
For a night of Italian flavours, visit Amarone and let the food sing to you!