‘I’m taking you out for a slap up meal this weekend’ I said rather excitedly, perhaps too excitedly as I bounced around in front of her.
She placed her kindle down on her lap and studied me carefully. She has grown to suspect her own son planning any surprises for her. She’s still hasn’t forgiven me for the Silver Wedding anniversary Surprise party I kept under wraps right under her nose.
‘Hmmm…. where are we going?’ she then asked, knowing full well what the answer was.
‘Ah, I can’t tell you.’ I wagged my finger at her teasingly, ‘It’s a surprise for Mother’s Day!‘
There her mind went into overdrive and over the course of the next few days, she tried in vain to trip me up whilst asking discretely placed questions.
I thought I’d make it even worse for her as her punishment.
‘It’s a posh Italian place, Mum, you need to dress a bit blingy…and don’t worry, I’m not exactly taking you to Rome. ..or am I?’
I turned away with an evil grin as I saw her check out if there was any flights from Humberside Airport to an Italian destination.
Why An Italian Experience For Mum?
So why was I taking Mum for an Italian dining experience?
1) She LOVES Italian food, pasta, tomatoes, cheese and all the works.
2) She has fond memories of her travels in Italy particularly in Rimini.
3) She’s always wanted to go on a luxury holiday in Italy staying in high star quality places such as Elegant Resorts perhaps in Venice or Florence.
4) I highly suspect that she loves handsome Italian men.
So, to give her a taste of an Italian experience that she could enjoy, incorporating all the reasons why she loves Italy, I decided that a delicious fine dining meal at Al Porto in our hometown of Kingston Upon Hull would be for her.
The Surprise is Sprung
‘Voila bellismissmo!’ I ta-dahed in gesture to the front of the Listed Building where Al Porto Restaurant was nestled within. I think my Mum was impressed. I think I even impressed myself. We were stood at the entrance and behind us was the Hull Marina, filled with yachts and boats bobbing along in this slightly cloudy weather. I hoped this may have brought a taste of Venice to her, but if she expected me to be a gondolier while she laid back to enjoy the sights of our hometown, she’s got another think coming.
But we didn’t want to spend too long appreciating the view as there was food to be eaten! I hear the best Italian food could either be found in Bologna or Puglia in Italy so I hoped we would have the same dining fare as theirs.
Climbing two staircases, we worked up an appetite and we were duly seated at a quaint wooden and rustic table filled with Mediterranean designed. I could see my mum had a grin on her face as she wowed at the ‘upmarket’ experience of it all. She deserves luxury and she was going to get it in Italian style.
But I haven’t even sat down for a few minutes when I made the ultimate faux pas. Oh, yes siree, I got into trouble. When the Italian maitre’d came over to take our drinks order, Mum ordered a lovely glass of prosesseco for her and after I ummed and ahhed, I ordered an Argentinian Malbec Wine. In an Italian Restaurant.
Oh, I could see the rage building up in his eyes as if I stole his wife away from him. My face blanched. What would I do next? I looked over at my protective mum who would, of course, jump to my definse. No, she decided to go in true Italian style and shame me to oblivion. The maitre’d jumped in an informative
tirade explanation why Italian wine was better. I just nodded along rather eagerly in the hope that he wouldn’t sabotage my food. It seemed to have the done the trick and we were all friends again. But I couldn’t help feeling that this was the passion Italy is famous for. They show their emotions and I think that’s like my mum in some way. She could be an Italian mother, as after all, she has the energetic nagging skills that I just roll my eyes at love.
After ordering our food (I’ll tell you what we ordered in a minute), we looked around the place. It was a little arty, slightly classical but understated. Could this be like affluent Florence? Or would it be stylish Milan? We spoke about her travels in Italy when she had to get a mammoth bus journey from the UK to Italy. I spoke about my trip to Basilicata last June.
We agreed we liked Italy and would love to go back there again. The main reason?
And that’s what we are here for today.
The Taste of Italy
Another cheeky Italian waiter winked at us as he brought our starter to the table. I could see my mum pause at the action and raise an eyebrow but I think she was secretly pleased. So what did we order to share a starter?
It was ‘Bruschetta Con Salmone’ or in layman terms, Smoked Salmon & Pesto Bruschetta. It was certainly good value at £6.95 as the whole thing was ginormous! Perhaps we could taste the fishing heritage of Southern Italy in the Salmon, but Mum certainly enjoyed it as she isn’t normally a fan of Smoked Salmon. It was sweet, tasty and the Bruschetta definitely complimented the dish. It was just right to keep the full on hunger pangs at bay.
As soon as we were finished, our wine was topped up again before our mains quickly arrived at our table.
Mum ordered the ‘Bistecca Pizzaiola’ (Prime Sirloin in a Tomato Sauce) and I ordered Filetto Alla Rossini (8oz Fillet With pate & Brandy Sauce). It was probably not the Italian taste that you and I wasn’t expecting as I was expected to be laden with pasta dishes one after and another. But both Mum and I wanted luxury Italian food and by god, we got it. I couldn’t stop making murmured appreciative noises as I bite into my Fillet and Mum delighted at the tasty and spicy tomato sauce. We could feel like we were in Rome, looking over the Colosseum and wondering if the Vatican would want some of this for the Pope.
But like a game of Italian football, it was all over. Our stomachs were full to the brim and I confess that I had to loosen a notch on my belt. Cheese, tomatoes and fresh bread are all in plentiful supply in Italy and I think if I ate these ingredients constantly, I would balloon up much bigger than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
But there was still one more course to go. Italy is always famous for its desserts and I think there was just room enough to slide a delicious cheesecake down our throats. And that’s what we exactly did.
I got the double Chocolate Cheesecake while Mum got the Vanilla version. Absolutely melted lovingly in our mouths for sure. I nearly ordered another one… But perhaps I will if I’m in Lake Como or perhaps Naples. Who knows. All I know is, if the cheesecakes in Al Porto are like this in Italy, I’d be a happy man.
After a fresh cup of Italian black coffee, our Italian Experience in Kingston Upon Hull was over. We left Al Porto with a smile on our faces and of course, leftovers to perhaps to recreate that Taste of Italy back at home.
But for me, did I give my Mum a great Mother’s Day experience? What do you think?