Vetrano restaurant review: Chef's passion for cooking is a gift for lovers of Italian food at Padiham restaurant
Sicilian born chef Antonio Vetrano fulfilled a lifelong dream to run his own restaurant last year.
I interviewed him at the time and saw the real passion he has for food and cooking. And I finally got the chance to sample that amazing cooking when I visited Vetrano with my family last weekend.
Vetrano is situated in the former Mamma Mia restaurant in Padiham, a landmark building in the town. Antonio established his name with his take-away menu that includes his award winning pizzas, pasta and his famous homemade tiramisu.
Born in Palermo, Antonio's father was a master builder but also a very talented cook. Antonio inherited that talent and learned so many skills from his mum, sisters and aunts who all loved to cook. Antonio qualified as a chef 28 years ago, and is a three times winner in the English Italian Awards.
He moved to England 22 years ago and has refurbished the restaurant also extended the kitchen.
The restaurant has a very modern and clean feel to it with some unusual art work adorning the walls. The staff are efficient but also warm and friendly. We were served quickly but it never felt rushed.
We were shown straight to our table and drinks ordered as soon as we arrived. The menu is packed with what you would expect in a traditional Italian restaurant with an excellent choice of pizzas, pastas, steak and chicken dishes. The four of us were spoilt for choice but I eventually plumped for mussels arrabbiata starter and they did not disappoint.
Beautifully presented with home made crusty bread the mussels were steeped in a garlic chilli, white wine and tomato and herb sauce which had a subtle but flavoursome kick to it.
My partner and my daughter opted for Costelette San Carlo, which were spare ribs served with a home-made barbecue sauce and my daughter's partner opted for the garlic bread pizza, which they all devoured.
Onto the mains I chose pollo alla crema which is chicken breast served with peppers, onions, mushrooms, salami, chives, tomato and white wine sauce. It was delicious and complemented by one of the tastiest salads I have ever had. The dish was packed with sundried tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and peppers drizzled in a sweet vingraitte.
My partner ordered the Pavarotti pizza topped with an array of meats which he said was delicious and piping hot. Unfortunately he could not finish it but we were able to take what he couldn't eat home with us. My daughter chose her one time favourite, penne arrabbiata which she said was little too hot for her palette but her partner played it safe with a pepperoni pizza and the verdict was 'gorgeous.'
While the dessert menu was tempting I opted for a coffee instead but my daughter chose sticky toffee pudding to share with her partner. Other menu options included chocolate brownie, chocolate fudge cake, creme brulee and traditional Cannoli Alla Siciliana which is pastry rolled with sweetened ricotta cheese and dipped in chocolate topped with candied fruit. I really wish now I had tried it.
But I will definitely try it next time I visit Vetrano.