GONE are the days when you’d find me dancing on the tables at Little Italy.
Which is just as well, as according to our friendly waiter Mario, due to health and safety issues it’s no longer allowed.
Regardless, I was rather pleased to discover the food is even better than I remember.
The restaurant, which has doubled in size since my last visit, has recently changed hands.
And I couldn’t quite make up my mind whether it’s because it is now so spacious that it has such a great, chilled-out atmosphere.
With a fabulous Italian crooner singing in the background, touches of Italy are evident wherever you look with its red walls and green and red tiled ceiling.
The rustic wooden tables and chairs as well as the flags and photographs offering a nod to Italy’s pride and joy, Ferrari, add to an authentic Italian feel.
My dining companion Jules thought that perhaps it was watching the chefs at work, punching the dough for pizzas, in the open kitchen that clinched Little Italy’s traditional feel.
We both agreed that had we not had somewhere else to be later on, we would have quite happily sat there all day.
But Jules and I were gearing up for a night on the tiles, so filling our stomachs, or more precisely, making sure we had lined them, was the order of the day.
Although the two course lunch menu at £5.95, which included old favourites such as bruschetta pomodoro and spaghetti carbonara was tempting, my eye kept being drawn to the linguini al gamberoni (£12.95) from the a la carte menu.
Had lasagne been part of the lunchtime deal, Jules would have been happy to order from it.
We swithered and swayed, over the mouth-watering menu that featured eight pizza choices and 13 pasta dishes as well as steak, veal, chicken and sea bass.
I opted for the pane con aglio e mozzarella (garlic bread with cheese) and the calamari fritti, for my starter.
Jules ordered the bruschetta della casa, which came loaded with baby mozzarella and green chillies, and also the mozzarella fritta.
Within no time at all our starters were presented to us.
Jules loved her mammoth portion of mozzarella fritta, which was the size of a sandwich. Oozing with cheese, I had to help myself to a few bites of it.
Her bruschetta was not for the faint-hearted.
She had to guzzle down her vodka to cool her mouth down – or so she said!
My garlic and cheese bread had just the right combination of crunch and gooeyness, while the calamari fritti was crispy on the outside and al dente on the inside.
On to the main event, and Jules swore it was the finest lasagne she has ever eaten.
I had to dive in too, and thought it also delicious – so rich in tomato flavour.
When my linguini was presented to me, my taste buds went in to overdrive.
I requested some parmesan to go with it, but according to the attentive Mario, no real Italian would serve cheese with fish. So that was me told.
It may be called Little Italy, but believe me, this restaurant deserves to be bigged up in every way.