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Best Bites: Italian restaurant with a difference

Delicious starters, traditional meals and indulgent puddings are all on offer at Italian restaurant Alcatraz Brasserie in Camberley

The Alcatraz Brasserie manager Vincent Benghabrit

From crispy-based margarita pizzas to juicy fillet steaks, Alcatraz Brasserie is not your typical Italian restaurant.

Combining traditional European flavours with unique twists, the Camberley eatery offers something delicious for everyone.

Situated in the heart of the town centre, yet tucked away from the chain restaurants, there is a touch of exclusivity about the place, as if the diner has stumbled across a hidden treasure.

Light and airy, with the windows open wide, the venue offers the al fresco feeling without diners actually eating outside.

A quick lunch, a business meeting, a night out or just a nice coffee – with dishes prepared daily visitors can expect passionate cooking in every bite.

Vincent Benghabrit has been managing the venue since 2004, two years after the restaurant opened in Obelisk Way. He said: “The menu is largely modern Italian but with great steaks, fish, seafood and chicken. We have a range of toppings for pizzas and various homemade pasta dishes to suit all tastes.

“We make sure everything is fresh and nothing is prepared in advance. Food is made to order.

“In the summer we open all of the windows which gives a nice feeling for both customers and staff. We have a team of 15, many of whom live locally, and we are very busy at the weekends.”

Relaxed and friendly

Located in a quaint courtyard behind The Mall, diners are given a warm and friendly welcome as soon as they approach the front door.

With a glossy tiled floor and crisp white linen, the restaurant is characterised by a fresh feeling matched in its cooking.

If lunch is what diners are after, small bites include panettone – toasted slices of Italian fruit bread – served with butter; and poached eggs and spinach, topped with hollandaise on toasted Italian bread.

With seating also available on the outside patio, shoppers can rest their feet and tuck into breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

The relaxed and friendly venue offers a number of sharing platters including borlotti beans in chilli and tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella with sun-blushed tomatoes and marinated olives and warm bread. For seafood fans there is a board of calamari fritti, breaded king prawns, sardines and smoked salmon with a refreshing lime dip. The venue caters for parties of up to six or more and has devised additional sharing menus for that special occasion.

From spaghetti bolognese and carbonara to penne arrabiata, ravioli and lasagne, the chefs pride themselves with their delicate pasta dishes.

As well as the traditional mozzarella and tomato pizza, diners can opt for a Peking duck calzone or try the house pizza loaded with tomato, mozzarella, peppers, pepperoni, artichokes, mushrooms, capers, onions and olives.

Served with a choice of rosemary potatoes or fries, other mains include lamb shank, sirloin steak, breaded veal escalope, pan-fried chicken breast or sea bass fillet.

No Italian restaurant would be complete without a range of creamy and indulgent, not to say decadent, desserts. Velvety whipped cream dusted with cocoa powder can only mean the coffee delight that is tiramisu.

Other tempting puds include Amaretto crème brûlée, chocolate brownie, profiteroles, honey, walnut and brandy ice cream or, if you fancy something a bit lighter, baked limoncello cheese-cake.

 

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