It may surprise you to know that I did not have a good time in Bristol. I had cycled 100 miles to get there and was not in the best shape having to do a full working day the following day as well as an hour presentation to dozens of people. No matter! La Grotta was highly rated and from the descriptions looked like the sort of place I might enjoy a hearty Italian meal. This was absolutely the case. And to top it off it is in the centre of Bristol.
To begin I had a lovely arrancino. This is a cone of rice, with tomato sauce, breaded and invariably with a glob of molten mozzarella in the centre. This after a long cycle and seemingly longer walk from Montpelier to Bristol centre was just right. This is a staple of Sicilian cuisine but is eaten across Italy, and indeed in Bristol. The one at the Grotta was no exception. It was exactly what I hoped it would be. The sauce mingling well with the coagulated rice, held together by a lovely thin crust of the bread crumbs which was not too thick.
Although the crust was good, I am afraid to say La Grotta could have done better on the margherita pizza test. They have, as you can see, used grated cheese instead of sliced mozzarella… and there is a distinctive green sweet leaf missing from the top. The best margherita pizza have a few pieces of basil scattered about just after the cooking is finished. This was not the case here. In this instance I was so ravenous that it did not much matter. The dough was good, nice and thin and even, cooked through with no soggy bits, which was ace.
Also, ever keen to be green, I had some rather buttery garlic broccoli with the meal, this helped counterbalance the relatively unhealthy carb overload of the pizza!
Overall I had a good time, I was well attended to, and the waiter was as keen a cyclist as me which was a big plus.