Dinner At Rinaldis Italian, Wakefield
When we were up in Wakefield we decided to have our dinner out on the Saturday night, rather than eat again in the hotel restaurant (lovely though it was), and so we rocked up at Rinaldis. We had been chatting on social media and Glyn (the owner) told us that they don’t reserve tables, it’s strictly first-come-first-served and that it does get busy at weekends. Rather cockily we reasoned that as it opened at 5.30p.m we should be assured a table if we booked the taxi for 6pm (Rinaldis is only a 5-10 minute ride away from the Cedar Court Hotel).
Blimey were we wrong! We were dropped off at 6.10p.m and managed to snag the last table for two. Twenty minutes later as we were tucking into our starters the bar was completely swamped with diners waiting for a table, and this continued all evening, even as we left at 8.30pm.
The interior has fantastic high ceilings and there is an original restored 1960’s Lambretta mounted above the entry door and two further ones mounted as a focal point on one wall. Although there are an abundance of tables there is a nice space between them so that you can converse in private. The pale tiled floor contrasts beautifully with the deep red chairs, striped banquette seating and black marble effect tables. Families with children of all ages (including those in high chairs) were dining as were groups of friends and couples, so it really is one of those rare places where everyone can dine comfortably in the welcoming atmosphere.
I really liked the fact that Rinaldis has a make-your-own pizza option so that children (small or big ones, i.e. kidults) can make what they fancy to eat.
We decided to have a bottle of Chardonnay with our meal and for our starters we had the Cornetto di Salmone (cornets of Salmon filled with Crayfish) and the Polpette di Carne (meatballs). The Man was delighted to see 3 rather large meatballs being placed before him, and soon tucked in. The meat was seasoned really well and the tomato sauce was a great gutsy affair that packed a chilli kick at the end. In fact the sauce was so beak-smackingly good that he used the bread from the bread basket to mop it all up.
My own Salmon cornets were no less impressive; there were 2 of them and each was packed full of Crayfish chunks - not slivers or pieces, proper chunks. They lay on a bed of fresh Rocket leaves and the Marie Rose sauce was presented in a separate little dish so you could add as much or as little as you wanted. Both of the starters were magnificent in their taste with lovely presentation.
His Nibs had the Filetto di Manzo al Dolcelatte for his main - a 10oz fillet steak topped with melted dolcelatte cheese in a rich mushroom and red wine sauce. The meat was sublimely tender and cooked perfectly medium and the blend of creamy dolcelatte and red wine sauce was gorgeous. All the accompanying vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and new potatoes) were superb too, cooked just as they should be.
I opted for the Fegato alla Veneziana which is Strips of Calves Liver pan fried with White wine, onion and a demi glace sauce. When the opportunity presents itself I must confess to really enjoying offal, but only when it’s done well, and I’m so glad I followed my gut instinct that Rinaldis would be the sort of establishment that would do it justice. The livers themselves were very tender and chock full of that rich earthy taste that offal is renowned for. This dish also came with vegetables and potato, but me being me I just wasn’t in a potato mood so the team kindly swapped these for a side salad for me. The salad was carefully presented and the leaves were enhanced with just the right amount of dressing. So, as you can imagine, there was no wastage on our two plates :)
For pudding I had the Homemade Cheesecake of the day which was Chocolate and Orange (Cointreau). This had an amazingly light texture and the most wonderful balance of rich chocolate laced with a marvellous hint of Orange. This layer was really generous and thick and lazed in glorious splendour atop a firm but crumbly, buttery base. Honestly, it was total taste bud Nirvana.
Across the table the Man was chirruping in delight at his choice of Chocolate Soufflé. This little marvel was perfectly cooked with its superbly soft gooey middle, and the accompanying Vanilla ice cream set its richness off sublimely. From start to finish this meal was a complete joy to savour, the service from the staff was magnificent and the premises themselves had a great ambience to them.
The variety of dishes on offer was noteworthy too I feel; it ranged from standard pizza and pasta options, through to steak and fish dishes and the specials board was equally dazzling. There truly is something for every palate on offer at Rinaldis.
If you live locally to this establishment, may I just say how jealous I am; if I lived nearby I think Glyn would have to set me up a little nest in one corner where I could permanently reside. For those of you who, like me, don’t live close by, can I just say that if you ever go to Wakefield please do try and eat at Rinaldis you will be highly satisfied by the quality of the food. “Hot Wings” unequivocally deserved for this talented team.