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A modern take on the traditional Italian eaterie; THE TASTE TEAM CHECKS OUT ZIA NINA IN BRIDGEND...

AN Italian restaurant in Bridgend that has been a popular hotspot with locals for many years has recently reopened after a refurbishment.

Zia Nina is based in the centre of town and the website says that they pride themselves on their fresh, delicious, Italian food. They source ingredients from local farmers, growers and markets for their dishes.

We decided to book a table for two on a Wednesday evening to see exactly what the restaurant is like since the makeover.

If you're expecting a traditional little Italian restaurant then think again. With seating over two floors and modern decor, including brightlypainted walls and large, low-hanging lighting, the first impressions are that this is a cool and vibrant place to be. From Mondays to Thursdays between 5.30pm and 10pm and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5.30pm and 6.30pm you can enjoy a meal from the early-bird set menu which includes two courses for PS12.95 or three courses for PS15.95.

While many restaurants offer limited set menus, it isn't the case here as there's a wide variety available.

We ordered a bottle of Pinot Grigio (PS16.95) while we looked through the menu. There are 11 choices for starters from the set menu, including soup of the day, bread and olives, whitebait, bruschetta, steamed mussels and prawn cocktail.

And when it comes to main courses there are 15 dishes to choose from, including lasagne, grilled chicken, seabass, 8oz sirloin steak - which is PS3 extra - and smoked haddock risotto.

You can also order sides of a bread basket, garlic bread, cheesy garlic bread, chips and salad, but this all comes at an extra cost.

To start we ordered the chicken liver pate and meatballs. The pate was served with red onion jam and toast. The jam was a great complement to the pate which was very smooth and it was the perfect portion size for a starter.

The meatballs, which were served with cherry tomato, fresh chilli, garlic and ciabatta, weren't as warm as I would have liked. However, they still tasted fresh and I wouldn't let this put me off ordering them again.

For mains we ordered the steak and the carbonara. The steak was served medium and was perfectly cooked and incredibly succulent. The homemade chips and vegetables were served hot - just how we like it.

Carbonara is one of my favourite Italian dishes and I wasn't disappointed. The smoky pancetta and classic cream sauce worked together perfectly and it was covered with Parmesan. It was everything a carbonara should be.

When it comes to desserts, you can order tiramisu, baked cheesecake and a brownie among others. We ordered lemon and mango sorbet to share as we wanted something light to eat. This was smooth, fresh and sweet.

Overall, we were happy with our meal and the service was great. The staff were very polite and friendly and we were not at all rushed between courses.

For a Wednesday evening, it wasn't quiet and quite a lot of tables were occupied, which is a good sign for mid-week. There was music on in the background which created a nice atmosphere.

This new-look Italian is well worth a visit.

| Zia Nina is at Dunraven Place, Bridgend CF31 1JD. Call 01656 660045

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 18, 2019
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