But the other day, we had the joy of hunting down our dinner. And we might humbly suggest that adding a challenge to a takeaway is the way forward. It wasn’t exactly Squid Game – although was our version of the Hunger Games – but it was rewarding.
We’d ordered from Bella Isabella in Wickham, a recent-isj arrival to the village. We ordered through a straightforward app, with only our own inability to read the word ‘postcode’ properly causing any frustration, and as were setting off, our phone rang.
‘Ello, it’s Bella Isabella here,’ said a man in a winning accent that blended northern with Italian. You coming? You know where we are?’.
We said we did, sort of, and we were directed: ‘You know the hairdressers on the corner? Go down the alleyway. Then you find us.’
So the DD went off, followed the instructions and…. found ourself in the middle of a car park. We followed our nose – but that just took us to the back door of the chippy on Wickham Square. We retreated, but then we saw a door slightly ajar. Emboldened, we pushed through, and – clocking the wonderful cheesy smell of pizza cooking, after a couple of twists and turns in a corridor there we were – the kitchen at the back of Bay Tree Walk also used by the Meon Valley Tearooms.
And what a result it was. We’d ordered a calzone with bolognese sauce and salami (£12), and a special pizza (£8) – special meaning it was loaded up with ham, salami, mushrooms and peppers. An apology was offered for having substitute some sausage for the salami, but mate, you could substitute a sausage for a flake in a 99 and I’d still kiss you.
It was a wonderful, properly cooked pizza. Given the price (and the taste) that well-known delivery chains offer up, this knocks spots off them. Real ingredients, not a feeling of having eaten plastic.
Because we were pushing the boat out (and were aware that discounts would kick in), we also ordered some spicy meatballs in tomato sauce (£6.50) and some garlic bread (£5). The latter led to one of the better exchanges the DD has had with a takeaway owner. Him: ‘You like cheese?’ Me: ‘Er, yeah’ Him: ‘Why don’t you have cheese on garlic bread then? Otherwise it doesn’t taste of anything. It’s just dough’. I’m happy to contradict him on this one – actually it was rather nice, the soft grease of the oily base covered in herbs. It was good. But next time, yep, you win, we’ll go for cheese. Being a Thursday night we were given a free box of profiteroles for spending more than £25, plus 10 per cent came off the bill.
Since then Facebook has informed us that Bella Isabella will be on the move to Botley in August, to the Brewery Bar. Botley’s gain will be Wickham’s loss – if you’re on this side of the county get a visit in before then.
Bella Isabella, Bay Tree Walk, Wickham, bellaisabella.net, 07846 448400