I’d eaten at Strada in Cobham a few years ago yet wasn’t drawn back for a second visit. When they invited me to come for dinner I admit, I was a bit dubious. But big changes have happened.
The hedgefund owners have sold to a passionate individual (Hugh Osmond, who famously floated Pizza Express). Upon taking over he said “The menu will be seriously up-dated. The quality of ingredients and food will be dramatically improved. And there will be a major investment in the premises, giving a very different ambience.” (more about the takeover) As part of the revamp, 43 of the 83 locations have been closed.
New improved Strada has wisely changed to using smaller, higher quality suppliers who make regular deliveries. Fresh fish arrives daily and beef is now raised on their own farm in Halifax. Everything is now prepared fresh to order
The interior hasn’t changed yet but the interior was never the issue. Décor is reminiscent of Mad Men, with lots of nods to mid century modern ideals. The space is huge – 140 covers – but broken into smaller areas that keep noise to an ideal level, not too loud and not too quiet.
It will be interesting to see what the “very different ambience” will be but it’s not know yet when Cobham will get the refurb. Regardless, it’s a easy space to spend time in.
Having already undergone a menu overhaul, another new, smaller a la carte menu is expected in October. There’s also a set menu that changes monthly. It’s Italian, offering pastas and pizzas along with a good assortment of meat and fish dishes.
Service is friendly and efficient.
We started with yummy warm Garlic flatbread with rosemary £4.95 and some plump olives.
We moved on to the mammoth Antipasti for two £12.95 Prosciutto di Para, Salami Napoli, speck, tomato bruschetta, rocket, buffalo mozzarella, artichokes and tapenade with a few additions for us to try-
crispy calamari (always a treat and this was no exception) and a Prosciutto Involtini Prosciutto di Parma, rocket, mozzarella and sticky balsamic (front corner). I’d never had a cold Involtini but I loved it, as a non tomato eater it was such a treat! It’s currently available on the set menu, and I highly recommend it as a starter.
The antipasti platter itself was feast, full of fresh tasting goodies and more than enough for two people.
For our next course the lovely, passionate manager brought us an assortment of dishes to sample:
(Front) Risotto Primavera (vegetarian & gluten free) £11.75 creamy risotto rice with peas, green & soya beans, courgette, mint, lemon and Grana Padano Creamy isn’t how I would describe this risotto, it was nice and light and not at all stodgy. The veg was lightly steamed tasting. Even Jman enjoyed it, and he likes neither rice nor vegetables.
(Left) Orecchiette Pugliese £11.45 “little ear” pasta with Luganega sausage, pancetta, chilli, tenderstem broccoli and Gran Padano Not only is cute little adorable shapes, it’s tasty too. A nice amount of heat and, again, a sense of freshness of ingredients.
(Right) Tagliatelle Bolognese £10.75 fresh tagliatelle tossed in a rich ragu sauce with Grana Padano and extra virgin olive oil It’s nice to get a more traditional tagliatelle over the spaghetti noodle in this perfectly good version of the spag bol.
(Rear) Rigatoni Carbonara £11.95 crispy pancetta, black pepper and lemon in a rich Grana Padano sauce This was utterly divine. We both loved it the most of the four dishes and this is what I will have on my next visit.
We were getting nicely full by this point but were enjoying the food so didn’t let that stop us from having another course (yes, I’m sacrificing my waistline for you.)
Jman opted for the 8oz sirloin Steak £17.95 with peppercorn sauce and fries which was tender and juicy, just the way a steak should be. It’s very good value for the quality of the steak.
I had the Sea Bass to test out the new, freshly delivered fish on the menu. Sea Bass £13.95 fresh sea bass, pan-fried and served on basil mashed potatoes, black olive, tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. (I went with rosemary potatoes instead of mashed.) What can I say, it passed. Fresh tasting, perfectly cooked and, again, was good value.
We shared the Rosemary Potatoes £3.75. These, like the rest of our food, were really nice, good flavours and a generous portion.
At this point we were getting really full so decided to share one dessert. We were recommended the Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake £5.75, baked lemon, marscapone and crushed amaretti biscuits. Wow. And wow again. This was glorious. Possibly the best cheesecake I’ve had in the UK, and it comes from Cardiff. Who would have thought. The supplier is a small Italian family business and my goodness I hope they start selling at supermarkets. If you’re looking for an afternoon coffee and sweet in Cobham this is what you’re looking for.
Strada has really seemed to turn a corner. Take freshly prepared food with good quality ingredients plus enthusiastic staff and you really can’t go wrong. I’m a convert and look forward to seeing the new menu and interior.
13-15 Between Street, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1AA
Town car park
Strada also has Surrey locations in Kingston and Richmond
We were guests of Strada Cobham but this is no way biased our review.