Lured out on a cold dark January evening by the lure of a great offer on food, this was an excellent opportunity to try Lytham dining royalty. I say that, because despite only living here 17 months, I am aware that Portofino is a Lytham institution, but had not yet got around to trying it. A 40% discount on their a la carte menu, as per their Instagram feed soon changed all that.
Having passed the place many times, I was never sure where the restaurant was, but once inside the layout made sense, and this being a somewhat quiet evening we were seated downstairs, effectively in the space behind Mojito, the cocktail bar on the front of the building. I could see more dining space upstairs, but not in use.
Having joined “fat club” at work, I am watching my carb intake during January so a large chunk of the menu was off limits for me. However, the menu is sizeable, and therefore I had plenty to go at. Our dining party was three strong tonight but due to some same choices I can only review 2 starters and 2 mains.
To start, my wife went for the goats cheese, over brioche with roasted peppers and balsamic. As a reformed veggie and not a fish lover, my wife knows a good goats cheese when she tastes one and was clear this was the best she had eaten so far in Lytham.
I went for the king prawns and chorizo with basil leaves, chilli and garlic. Quite frankly this was lush! I could have eaten a bigger plate of this for my main, very easily. Really juicy king prawns, lots of chorizo that had given its rich red oil to the dish to meet the chilli and garlic. As a spice monster I would have had more chilli, but this is a minor concern for my starter of 2018 so far! Our other dining companion had the same as me and devoured the lot.
Onto main and 2 orders of Melanzana Parmigiana and the Saltimboca Alla Romana for me. The aubergine eaters declared their dish rich in tomato flavours without the aubergine being over powered. The added cheese and further sprinkling of good quality parmesan only added to this winter comfort food.
My dish was excellent. Thankfully, not too heavy on the carbs! I had two pieces of veal, wrapped in parma ham and sage leaves. Sage & basil define good Italian food for me, and when you got a good bite of sage in this dish, the taste levels went up a notch. The sauce was creamy without being cloying and the vegetables were good.
We shared a side order of Zucchini Fritti, which was a real show stealer. I couldn’t eat too much but this dipped in the rosemary and garlic olive oil on the table was just great.
As this was a school night and I was driving, between the three of us only one pint of Birra Moretti and one bottle of the Piemonte Cortese made up the entirety of the drinks bill. The half glass of the wine I had was excellent, and as Piemonte was a recent holiday trip for us I can honestly say it’s very hard to get a bad bottle of any wine from the North West province of Italy.
So, my Portofino cherry has been popped. The service was friendly and the ambiance in the restaurant was nice and certainly livened up when the music kicked off in Mojito! The offer on the food brought this into a price point that is OK with me for a midweek dinner.