Shopping in Leeds is made more bearable by lunch. Often, this involves a walk away from shop central and out into the peripheral areas of Greek street, Millennium Square or the Calls. Portofino, however, is very conveniently located on Albion Place, one of the short streets that links Lands Lane with Albion Street.
My two lunch partners arrived first and were sipping the first Pinot Grigio of the day. I quickly sat down but had to ask a waiter for the same, as no offer was forthcoming. My partners whispered that they had been left without drinks when they arrived too, and had to request them. Not a great start.
The menu is extensive. Lots of pasta and pizza choices, meat and fish. Portofino also does an express lunchtime special for £7.95, which contains a number of main menu dishes. We chose to go a la carte, however.
We decided to forgo a first course although the “antipasti” on the menu looked very tempting, particularly the Funghi Al Forno (field mushrooms baked with ratatouille and dolce latte) at £4.95.
My vitello alla parmigiana (£14.95) was a breadcrumbed veal fillet topped with tomatoes and mozzarella, with a generous spaghetti Napolitana on the side. I have a weakness for breadcrumbs or batter so this was a good choice.
My dining companions both had the chicken and chorizo salad special, again a generous serving with big chunks of chorizo.
Pudding was sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. Again, a very sizable portion.
Also, the cheese selection, which included brie and a blue (not stilton but not sure what it was). This can be served in an individual or sharing portion.
Lunch was accompanied by two bottles of Italian wine – a Pinot Grigio and a Soave (because they had run out of Pinot!)
Overall, Portofino is a great place for a traditional Italian lunch. The red and black interior is modern without trying too hard. Portions are generous and meals are well presented and tasty. Service is generally swift and efficient. Outside, there are tables set up ready for the warmer weather and it will be interesting to see this area filling up in the next few months.