Set in the ‘Village’ area of Westfield shopping centre, this new branch of dairy favourite Isola Bella is a café-restaurant that doesn’t advertise that it’s kosher. The management aims to attract an all-day clientele looking for a refuge from the frenetic shopping. Bright and open, not overcrowded and with friendly staff, this outlet offers a similarly wide menu to the Golders Green original: too wide, according to some.
Everything is on a grand scale: from the sandwiches to the plates of giant salads and piled-high portions of pasta. Because an abundance of vegetables forms the base of almost all the dishes, Thai-inspired noodles seemed little different from Italian penne – the saucing needs more finesse. But the three-course lunch special, from a surprisingly unrestricted menu, is good value at £18. Half-portion starter salads were colourful and appetising, and whole grilled sea bass was a treat: crisp skin and moist flesh with Asian soy dressing.
Chips were plentiful and crunchy, but fried pastries with noodles seemed oil-heavy. Desserts too come in many guises. Ice-cream is unspectacular though the cakes are tempting, especially if you like white chocolate, meringue and cream.