I spotted the place on Abbeydale Road, Sheffield while walking the dog and tried a couple of delicious pizzas. Then it gradually welcomed outdoor diners, mainly sharing snacks over drinks, before opening up fully.
My first visit for a meal did not disappoint. I managed to grab the last booking on a busy Friday night and when I arrived with a friend early evening, it was already pleasantly buzzing.
North Town is two shops knocked together and one half features the kitchen that you can see from the street and the right-hand side has a deli counter and seating on bar stools with a long shelf table running along the wall.
At the back are smaller tables for two against another wall and two long tables with bench seats.
The walls are covered with pages of an Italian sports paper and pink Giro d’Italia cycling shirts hang in a line.
The cycling memorabilia should have been a big clue to the guy I thought I recognised deftly waiting on tables – Gian Bohan, who set up Nonna’s on Ecclesall Road and is a big cycling fan.
His business partner Pasquale Pollio was the other server and both were welcoming and friendly.
We had to wait for our table, so we tried a glass each of the house white and Gian offered us a tray of mini bruschetta (bread with toppings) – Linda tried one with white beans with preserved lemon and pumpkin seeds and mine had a mixture of tomatoes and herbs.
Then we moved on to the starter proper, sharing a whole ball of smoked provole cheese, dressed with crushed pistachios, sweet-tasting thinly-sliced aubergine,capers and olive oil.
"They love these pastries so much that there’s a mural featuring them”
I really enjoyed the novelty of flavours I would never have put together and the gorgeous cheese.
We asked to wait for our main courses until our table was ready and that took a little while but we weren’t in a hurry.
Linda chose a pizza topped with rocket, parma ham, mozzarella and Parmesan. She gave me a slice and it had a lovely fresh base and a topping of simple, well-cooked ingredients. Delicious.
I went for pasta off the specials list – wide ribbons of pasta in a tomato sauce with clams and mussels in the shell. Again, simple and well cooked, like the best Italian food, and just what you’d want from such a dish.
We saved room for North Town’s speciality dessert – cannoli. They love these pastries so much that there’s a mural featuring them – the two gangsters from Pulp Fiction are holding pastries and Vincent is saying: “Leave the gun, take the cannoli!” This is actually a quote from The Godfather.
Cannoli is pastry filled with a mascarpone cream filling. Mine was flavoured with morello cherries, which I loved, and Linda’s was made with orange zest and pistachios. They were perfect with a good glass of Cappuccino.
All in all, a very enjoyable evening that needs to be repeated soon. Our bill came to £67.50 including drinks.
North Town Deli and Kitchen, 699 Abbeydale Road. Phone 0114 255 1242. Website: www.northtown.store