Review: Burnley's The Palazzo restaurant offers amazing dining experience in surroundings steeped in history with 21st century vibe

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The moment you step through the door at Burnley’s The Palazzo restaurant you just know this is going to be a special evening.

One of Burnley town centre’s most historic buildings, this former bank is now one of the ‘in’ places to be and be seen. Many of the interior’s original features have been preserved and enhanced to create a really modern, upmarket vibe. Modelled on a Florentine palace when it was built more than a century ago, new life was breathed into the grade two listed building in 2016 by Ribble Valley restaurateur Pino Cafasso. Hailing from the Italian culinary capital of Naples he spent nearly £1m. transforming the former NatWest Bank in Hargreaves Street.

Pino immediately fell in love with the place when he visited Burnley with friends and was captured by the facade and marble interior which reminded him of Italy. Built in 1876 in the Florid Florentine style by William Waddington and Son for the Manchester and County Bank, the interior features Arabesque marble walls and columns. It really does have the ‘wow’ factor.

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It may be steeped in history but the vibe at The Palazzo is very 21st century with a mix of clientele, from the trendy young fashionistas to maturer clients who like somewhere sophisticated to dine out. So the surroundings are very palatial... but what about the food? Offering authentic Italian dishes based on recipes from home, I have to say The Palazzo garlic bread is THE best I have ever tasted. Home made 72 hour proved dough hand stretched and stone baked in the restaurant’s wood fired oven and finished with lashings of garlic oil it is bursting with flavour. This is definitely the ‘Rolls Royce’ of garlic breads.

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Our party of five chose two garlic pizza breads, one tomato and a mozzarella one and both disappeared as soon as the waiter delivered it to our table. We all opted to go straight to mains and chose two margarita pizzas and gnocchi brasato which is home-made potato gnocchi, pulled brasato of beef, caramelised onions, Dolcette, red wine jus and parmesan. I opted for the lasagne al forno which offered a layer of egg pasta, pork and beef tomato ragu with mozzarella and parmesan bechamel and the fifth dish was pollo chorizo which was tender breast of chicken baked with chorizo, mixed peppers, Nduja and red wine served with mashed potato.

All the meals were served to us quickly and were piping hot and delicious. Although the portions appear to be quite small when they arrive the food is of such great quality it is very filling and satisfying. With an extensive selection of sides on offer and also a burger and gluten free selection and children’s menu there is a dish to suit every taste. There is also a full vegetarian and vegan menu to choose from which makes a refreshing change from just offering the usual dish or two.

The tempting desserts menu offer a full range of ‘afters’ from biscoff chocolate brownie and panna cotta to apple crumble and sticky toffee pudding. Staff at The Palazzo are friendly, efficient and knowledgeable about the food they serve and owner Pino is always on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly. He is like a proud father, and I can see why, as The Palazzo has really put Burnley on the map as a ‘go to’ restaurant.

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