I love Italian food and so does Roo. We often choose ASK restaurants if out and about as they have a good menu and the staff in our local one have always been very accommodating. So when I found out that ASK Italian restaurant chain have launched a new menu with Theo Randall, one of the UK’s most celebrated chefs I was intrigued to know more.
According to ASK’s PR team at Splendid Communications they have made over one million changes to date – from the menus to the uniforms, music and Milanese-inspired decor – this will mean that customers will experience the ‘cuore’ (heart) and ‘spirito’ (soul) of Italian food and culture from teams who are knowledgeable, genuine and passionate about making ASK Italian amazing every time.
ASK Italian restaurant is ‘Calling all Italian Lovers’ to come and enjoy a very different restaurant experience. Inspired by Italy’s style, warmth and obsession with great food, it is transforming its 123 restaurants bringing a fresh, bold and authentic dining experience to the high street.
To inspire this journey of transformation and encourage a spirit of exploration, ASK Italian has been working with a number of experts who are leaders in their respective fields of food, drink and culture.
Simply great Italian food
Theo Randall, one of the UK’s most celebrated chefs, has been working with ASK Italian to transform the menu step by step with dishes that keep authentic, fresh ingredients at their heart. He believes that “by using really great quality ingredients in dishes across the menu, like our extra virgin olive oil from Puglia, the food now brings a little piece of real Italian dining to the high street.”
Highlights from the new menu available nationally include:
- Insalata Caprese – buffalo mozzarella, vine ripened mini San Marzano tomatoes, Santos tomatoes, fresh rocket and basil, all set off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
- Spaghetti al Pomodoro – Santos tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil shine in this rich tomato sauce with buffalo mozzarella and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Risotto Pollo e Funghi – Tender chicken breast slices and a variety of sautéed mushrooms in a creamy white wine sauce. Garnished with sautéed oyster mushrooms and thyme
- A range of deliciously creamy gelati made from an authentic artisan recipe using pure and natural ingredients
A selection of new dishes (below) is also being trialled in 11 restaurants before being rolled out nationally in March:
- Fettuccine con Verdure – fettuccine with courgettes, peas, oven-roasted tomatoes, green beans and spinach seasoned with garlic, basil, red chili and finished with olive tapenade
- Spigola al Forno – roasted sea bass with new charlotte potatoes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach in a light butter and white wine sauce with lemon juice
- Risotto Gamberoni – rich risotto with king prawn, courgettes, tomato and a tasty kick of red chili; garnished with a large, shell-on king prawn
- Prima Pizza Gamberetti e Zucchini – prawns, courgette, crème fraiche, garlic and a seasoning of anchovies and capers are served on a classic tomato base and seasoned with Calabrian oregano
- Torta Italiana – Italian plum and pistachio tart served warm with vanilla gelato
A bit bubbly
Master of wine, Adrian Garforth, has developed the all Italian wine list (currently in trial in 11 restaurants and due to launch nationally in March) that will bring zest to any meal. Having travelled widely in Italy, he has chosen a simple list of great Italian wines to complement the flavours of the new menu including a number of classics such as Pinot Grigio and Chianti as well as more complex wines like a Piedmontese Gavi D.O.C.G.
The Italian job
Italian expert and prize winning author, Carla Capalbo is working with the ASK Italian restaurant team to share her knowledge of Italian culture and the stories behind key dishes and ingredients.
She has lived in Italy for many years and understands what it takes to create a really authentic dining experience. Capalbo comments, “Food is central to Italian life and culture – the quality, seasonality, regionality and tradition of food contribute so much to the Italian national psyche. By working with the teams at ASK Italian, I want to bring the stories and inspiration behind their key dishes and seasonal specials to life.”
Harvey Smyth, chief executive officer of Gondala Group and parent company to ASK Italian says, “We want to do something really different with ASK Italian. We’ve thought about every detail of the restaurant to get it just right and with the help of our expert friends we’re inspiring our teams season on season, immersing them in what we call an ‘Italian Education’. It’s all about creating a business that has a passion for Italy at its heart.’
Chef, Theo Randall, continues, “I’ve chosen to work with ASK Italian because I believe they’re doing something really special. We’ve taken an honest approach to the menu and combined much-loved favourites with new dishes that will excite customers with their seasonality and quality ingredients. I’m proud to be helping inspire the team at ASK Italian on this journey to transform their restaurants across the country.”
More information about ASK Italian can be found at www.facebook.com/ASKItalian
ASK Restaurant Competition
The lovely people at ASK Italian Restaurant have offered one of my lucky blog readers the chance to win a meal to the value of £50 at an ASK restaurant of your choice. To enter all you need to do is leave me a comment below telling me what Italian food is your favourite and why.
For THREE extra entries you can also do the following:-
- Tweet to your followers on Twitter “I want to win £50 of vouchers for a yummy Italian meal with ASK Restaurant over @mummy_blogger ‘s blog http://bit.ly/scCj8N”
- Like The Mummy Blogger on facebook
- Like ASK Italian on facebook
For each extra entry you do please leave me a comment telling me which you have done and don’t forget to tell me how to contact you. Winners will be drawn on Wednesday 28th December and you will be notified by return if you have been successful. The vouchers are to the value of £50 and cannot be exchanged for other monetary items.
To get you started my favourite Italian meal is lasagne as I love all the flavours from the sauce and the herbs. Good luck!