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Pop-up Italian – the perfect night out.
12 Mar 2014
by Rebecca Dutton

By Lorna McCann

I don’t get the chance to go out much these days as I’m sure is the case with most parents who have young children.

So, when Sofood! announced they were going to host a pop-up Italian night on February 28th it seemed like the perfect excuse to draft in the babysitters and join the rest of the J&PR crew for a nice relaxing evening out.

And what a lovely night it was. Perfect company, perfect atmosphere and perfect food.

The diner, based at Maple House Business Centre on Queensway, was bustling when we arrived. Normally it is only open to the public during the day serving breakfast and lunch but on this particular evening it had a distinctly intimate restaurant feel about it.

We got a lovely warm welcome from Sofood! directors Mike Cosgrove and Kristian Lea and his team as they buzzed about taking orders and chatting to guests.

As we settled down at our table for the night we were pleasantly surprised by the menu. For some reason we had been expecting a set menu but that wasn’t the case and were instead presented with a choice of several mouth-watering starters and just as many mains courses.

It took us a while (amongst all the chit-chat) to decide on our personal feasts for the night but I finally plumped for the the mozzarella, tomato and basil bruschetta to start. It’s one of my favourites and it didn’t disappoint. The mozzarella was melted just enough, the tomatoes were really juicy and there was a very delicate garlic flavour to the bread (I don’t like too much!).

There were plenty of other options too including tiger prawns in garlic oil and white wine with tomato sauce and ciabatta, pancetta and peas sauteed in garlic with spicy spaghetti and field mushrooms sauteed in garlic on tomato sauce. All were priced between £4.50 and £5.95. I think between us all we managed to sample most of the starters on offer and each one got the thumbs up.

Next, I had spaghetti carbonara.  This was super scrummy. It was lovely and creamy which is just how I like it and not too salty which, sometimes,I find can be the downfall of carbonara. I could have eaten it twice over it was so delicious but that wouldn’t have left me much room for pudding!

Again, there were plenty of main dishes on the menu from the traditional favourites such as lasagne and spaghetti bolognese to Alla Piazziola (fillet of pork, sunblush tomatoes, red onion, oregano and paprika in a red wine sauce with penne pasta) and Cozze con Pomodoro e Aglio (mussels cooked in a tomato and garlic sauce with warm ciabatta).

There was also a selection of vegetarian dishes available and prices for all the main courses ranged from a modest  £7.50 to £9.95. Well worth it I would say and, judging by the clean plates from the rest of the J&PR crew, they all enjoyed their dinner too!

By the time pudding rolled round some of the dishes had sold out so between us we enjoyed the remaining portions of the chocolate orange cheesecake and plum and pistachio frangipane. Both of which were delicious.

Sofood! had 46 guests in for the pop-up Italian and with food this tasty it’s no real surprise tables sold out in just three days. You see Sofood! head chef Dave Mason is in is element when cooking Italian cuisine and it really showed.

And, while he was slaving away in the kitchen, his son, Liam, was doing equally a brilliant job leading the front of house team for the night. His friendly, easy going  personality kept the guests happy and entertained all night and we liked him for his honest, no-frills description of the puddings!

In fact it was a real team effort all round for the Sofood! staff. They even popped a cork or two at the end of the night to toast their own success. That was before all hands were back to deck to tidy up!

It was the first pop-up Italian night to be hosted by Sofood! and we, like many other guests, were eager to know when we could pencil the next one into our diaries. And, the good news is the next one will be held on 28th March so get in quick and book your table!

J&PR are a Shropshire PR agency covering Shrewsbury, Telford, north Shropshire, south Shropshire and parts of Mid and North Wales. As well as working with businesses, organisations and events across the region on PR campaigns J&PR run regular DIY PR Training Courses and DIY Digital PR Training Courses at venues in the county.