Who fancies a break from the kitchen? We visited ASK Italian to try out brand new dishes from their spring menu, and in particular their special Mother's Day menu. As you can see you can expect some stunning colourful dishes - if you like to eat the rainbow you're going to be happy. We also tried dishes from the ASK children's menu and vegan menu.
I love cooking for my family - in fact I spend a considerable part of every day thinking about it, planning it and doing it. I dream of having a larger kitchen so we could squeeze more people into it. However, even though it feels like I live, breathe and sleep cooking, it is always very welcome to take a break from the kitchen and let someone else do the hard work.
In Italian culture getting together as a family is very important - and mammas are of course right at the heart of every family. This Mother's Day ASK Italian are looking forward to welcoming mammas and their families into their restaurants. As well as a lovely special menu you'll also notice gorgeous yellow mimosa flowers in the restaurants - these have been given to women in Italy as a mark of respect ever since the end of the Second World War.
What's on the Mother's Day menu* at ASK Italian?
*Spoiler* There's prosecco. It wouldn't be Mother's Day without a glass of bubbles would it? To start you can choose from five starters (four of which are veggie, yay!) including mushrooms al forno which my husband is still drooling over, bruschetta or butterfly king prawns. For your main course there are several pasta or pizza dishes (including three vegetarian options) as well as chicken and calzone.
Alternatively you could try the prima pizza light coppa ham and egg (pictured above). This is a brand new option on the menu for spring and is a small pizza in a unique octagon shape, which is served with a stunning rainbow salad. The salad comes with candy stripe beetroot, yellow courgettes, Santos tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, mixed leaves, radish, pine nuts and is served with a citrus dressing on the side. The complete dish has under 550 calories so is a great option for anyone looking for a lighter meal.
The Mother's Day menu costs £19.95 for a three course meal and a glass of prosecco.
What's the ASK children's menu like?
I really liked the ASK children's menu. First of all they actually have a vegan children's menu - I have never seen this in another restaurant before and this is a brilliant step forwards for vegan families and those with dairy allergies. The standard kids menu has the usual pasta and pizza options but a few things stood out for me. The cartwheel shaped pasta (pictured below) made a nice change from penne and spaghetti (which is the messiest thing a toddler can eat and in my opinion is best avoided in public!). I also like the sound of the dip and dunk pasta, where the pasta, sauce and cheese come separately - this will be a godsend for parents of picky eaters! Anyone who's gone through the dreaded no sauce stage will know what I mean.
When it came to dessert my kids were all tempted by the chocolate pizza but ended up ordering Tip and Top ice cream, which is a scoop of ice cream and sauce with a selection of toppings on the side that you can add yourself. The kids loved the novelty of this. If you're after a healthier option there are fruity ice lollies or fresh fruit available too. Unfortunately my big kids can read now so there's no hope of palming them off with fruit when there's ice cream on the menu! You'll get three courses and a babyccino for £6.95 if you order the ASK children's menu. They also have a Tiny Tums menu for £3.50, which is great for babies and little toddlers.
Having fun making our own pizzas at ASK Italian
After a demo from ASK chefs and Chef Theo Randall, who works with ASK to develop their menu, we were given all the ingredients to make the Prima pizza ourselves but the kids decided to freestyle.
My two big kids spurned the idea of spinach and asparagus on a pizza and opted for a margherita (which incidentally is Theo Randall's favourite pizza too). Miss R was highly affronted that there was no oregano on the table and took herself off to demand some from the ASK staff. I didn't know whether to be embarrassed or proud!
Here's Little S pinching the salad ingredients and putting them on his pizza instead. I'm not sure that Theo Randall was convinced by the idea of radish on a pizza but S liked it - he ate the lot! (No need for Sneaky Veg with this child).
Since January this year I've been sticking to a vegan diet and was pleased to see that there's a full vegan menu at ASK. I made myself a small vegan pizza using coconut cheese (no I have no idea how this works either!) while the kids were making theirs. I also ordered this vegan fettucine con verdure which was delicious and packed full of strong flavours - no bland vegan food here.
*The Mother's Day menu is available on Saturday 10 March and Sunday 11 March 2018 only.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with ASK Italian