Colin Ainscough go backs to his roots to sample an Italian family feast at Mimmo’s in Thornton.
The small village in Wyre where I grew up was, in the memory of my teenage years, a sleepy little place with not much more to offer than a couple of pubs.
So the recommendation of an Italian restaurant in the area didn’t leave me feeling particularly optimistic.
When we arrived, I found that the village itself had hardly changed, but as soon as we crossed the threshold into Mimmo’s, my family and I were met with the bustle and warmth of a vibrant Italian restaurant.
In fact, it was so busy, I expected to be stood a while before anyone would have time to attend to us.
However, no sooner had the thought crossed my mind one of the staff gestured from the other side of the room for us to take a table between two large parties who were clearly having a great time.
As we settled into the incredibly soft chairs at our table, breadsticks and a small appetiser of carrot sticks and seafood sauce were quickly placed in front of us, along with our menus.
With our drinks order taken with the same level of efficiency, we dived into the menu. It seemed at a glance quite limited and my gaze quickly shifted to the impressive specials board on the wall behind.
To start with I ordered BBQ spare ribs (£6.95) for my daughter, Mushroom Al Forno (breaded garlic mushrooms - £5.95) for my wife and home made paté with garlic bread (£5.95) for me; accompanied with a portion of onion rings for us all to share.
There was only just enough time to take in the contemporary décor and acclimatise to our surroundings before our starters arrived.
And as soon as I took my first mouthful I found myself exchanging my paté for my daughter’s BBQ ribs, the homemade sauce proving a little too tangy for her delicate tastebuds.
“My” ribs were juicy and soft, swimming in a tangy sauce (of which there could have been a little less); the Mushroom Al Forno was as good as you would find at any Italian restaurant; and the powerful nutty flavours of the paté proved a hit with my daughter, while the crisp and light onion rings were eagerly consumed.
For mains, the lure of the specials board was too much as I ordered the sea bass, which to my disappointment was off the menu. So my second choice of the rack of lamb with wine and shallots (£18.95) would do nicely.
My wife stuck with her old favourite, the Pollo A La Creme (chicken breast in white wine and cream sauce, £13.45), while my daughter opted for a basic mozzarella, tomato and salami pizza (£7.45).
The main courses were all tasty, and silence descended across our table as we enjoyed the food.
The lamb ribs were soft and packed with flavour, stacked on a bed of rich roasted vegetables.
The chicken was creamy with beautifully balanced flavours, while the pizza kept my daughter very quiet, which is surely a sign of good food.
Dessert was a push too far for the wife and I, and with the menu only catering for larger portions, one of the friendly staff took my daughter to choose from the novelty kids’ puddings instead.
As we left, my daughter noticed a basket full of breadsticks behind her, and no sooner had she seen it than one of the staff had grabbed a handful and passed them to her. It was little touches like this that made Mimmo’s stand out from other Italian restaurants I have visited.
With reasonable prices, quality food, a vibrant atmosphere and attentive friendly staff, this restaurant has certainly brought a little life to that quiet town where I grew up.