24 April 2017

Restaurant Review: L'Osteria Opening Night, Southampton

L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton

Last week I was invited to join L'Osteria on their opening night of the new Southampton restaurant in the Watermark development of WestQuay. Watermark is an entertaining complex housing a cinema, bowling alley, and numerous new restaurants and food joints - a gem in the middle of Hampshire when it comes to choosing new places to eat. 
L'Osteria is an Italian restaurant serving appetisers, pasta, pizza, salads, and dessert - with a fully stocked bar for post meal cocktails. There are only two restaurants in the UK - one in Bristol and now one in Southampton (London eat your heart out! :P) - the restaurant came to us from mainland Europe with chains across Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton

L'Osteria pride themselves in authentic ingredients and freshly made dough for pizza, pasta, and bread - I always have to ask where the produce if from because I'm over paying £16 for a meal which has been cooked in a microwaveable bag. I always test a food joint by asking them to cook my beef rare, and if they can't do that then I know my food isn't as fresh as I want it to be - and trust me there are many restaurants around me which have a reputation of being 'posh' but their food is awful and overpriced. Back to L'Osteria - we had a sneak peek in the kitchen and saw the Italian chefs at work, making dishes for the eagerly awaiting public. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the freezer in L'Osteria is TINY - that's because they don't keep frozen products, and cook from fresh. 
You can choose to sit at a table which overlooks the kitchen and the work behind the scenes - I always like sitting at those tables because I'm intrigued to see how the food is prepped, and I love the buzz of a busy kitchen. 

L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton

We then had a tour of the premises which made us see just how big and spacious L'Osteria in Southampton is - spread over two floors, you have options of indoor and outdoor seating, private dining areas for parties and occasions, and even an entertainment children for areas kitted out with vintage school desks and drawing supplies. I love that the restaurant is decorated throughout with fresh herbs, fruits, and modern lighting. The staff were very friendly and welcoming - we asked many questions to get a better understanding of L'Osteria's background.

L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton

When it came to ordering food, I was at a loss because I wanted to try EVERYTHING. Seriously everything on that menu was like 'EAT ME!!' and it took me ages to focus and actually pick something. We decided to go for a pizza and a pasta dish so we can make a judgement on both mains available - the pizza Rustica, and a daily special pasta with marinated octopus. There was also an appetiser buffet for the opening night, and everything I tried there was delicious - prosciutto ham with melon, bruschetta, grilled aubergine slices wrapped around soft cheese... It was heaven.

L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton

The pizza Rustica was made from fresh pizza dough and topped with mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, olives, onions, oregano and piccante - simple and yet so delicious! With a splash of L'Osteria chilli oil it was heaven on a plate. Well should I say, over the plate as the pizza is 18 inches big!! It's definitely one for sharing, and kicks ass of any pizza I have eaten in popular restaurant chains.

Now let's talk about pasta - we are used to smothering our pasta in sauce, so when this dish came out we wondered what it would be like as it didn't have much sauce but rather was mixed with the marinaded octopus, spices, herbs and a little bit of oil. The homemade pasta was incredible - I fell in love from first bite. It really makes a difference - shop bought pasta comes no where near as tasty as homemade! And the octopus made this dish taste like the Mediterranean, like if you close your eyes you could actually be on a sunny beach eating seafood and sipping on cocktails. The pasta for me stood out massively - I would highly recommend you try the pasta at least once just to experience it! And actually when I cooked pasta for lunch the next day, I ditched the sauce and focussed on ingredients - it was delicious!

L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton
L'Osteria Southampton Review, L'Osteria Southampton, Hampshire bloggers, places to eat Southampton

We stayed for a little while after our meals and enjoyed a couple of cocktails with our dessert - definitely recommend the French Martini whilst you're there, it's a game changer. The experience I had at L'Osteria was so positive that I cannot wait to go back again and feast with family and friends - beautiful decor, friendly and helpful staff, authentic food, and delicious cocktails.

I wish L'Osteria every success in Southampton and thank them for inviting us to share the opening night with them - the food in this post was complimentary for review purposes.
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