[Weymouth, Dorset] Al Molo

Al Molo has one asset that sets it apart from probably every other restaurant in town and that’s the view. Situated on the first floor of what’s left of the 1930s Pier Bandstand (which used to stretch across the beach), your view is straight out to sea. Even in the dark of a September evening, there was the twinkle of lights on boats out in the bay. The link with the past is still there. The building is still very much art deco and Google tells me that “molo” is Italian for “pier”.

In contrast to many Anglicised Italian places, Al Molo keeps to a fairly short menu – around 15 choices for starters and similar for mains. Starters were straightforward. For one of us, a focaccia bruschetta. It’s topped with tomato, basil and lemon mayo – the latter detracting from the main flavours and textures. The other was a mixed antipasto plate – salami, mortadella, prosciutto – and, to cut through the fattiness of the meat, some pickles in the form of gherkins, cocktail onions and small green olives. There’s a bit of salad, including radicchio, for contrast.

Perfectly al dente tortalloni followed that plate. The pasta was filled with very tasty lamb and there was a lovely creamy sauce, enhanced with Gorgonzola, matchsticks of pancetta and walnuts. Steak, fries and salad across the table. Not very Italian you might think. But the salad is rocket and Parmesan. And frozen catering fries have been lifted by being tossed with a hefty helping of chopped garlic. It becomes very Meditteranean.

We didn’t fancy dessert but, as you’d expect in an Italian gaff, the espresso was good.