Da Noi, a taste of Piedmont, Apulia and Italian regions, recreated in Chester

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Da Noi Chester

This turned out to be a very special evening. The invitation was to celebrate the re-opening of an Italian restaurant in Bridge Street, Chester. We took a beautiful early evening stroll through Chester, and it was a time to celebrate what felt like a re-awakening. After being too long away from the hospitality sector.

Feature by: Jean Hill

This is a husband and wife led culinary adventure where we were  guided through authentic recipes from several Italian regions: The couple came from the foodie city of Turin. Valentina is the chef, and Fabrizio is front of house. The setting is classically simple. The welcome was very warm indeed.

Frangipane cake

The antipasti included Buffalo mozzarella stuffed with roasted peppers. Off to a flying start with a traditional Piedmont anchovies sauce to perfectly complement the richness and creaminess of the mozzarella.

The next dish was unique in my experience. It was salted cod black arancini, asparagus mayonnaise and battered (in batter) sage leaves. Arancini would normally be a rice based dish. This was a wonderfully creative  take on a classic. The salted cod, was soaked in milk, to remove any saltiness and create a moist depth of flavour that was a gentler version of  unmistakable cod. The asparagus mayonnaise was ripe with that nutty taste, with a sheen of smoothness.


One of Valentina’s speciality, signature dish is risotto. She used Carnaroli rice, and added courgettes, Burrata and caviar for this version. Burrata is a soft creamy mozzarella, renowned in Apulia that adds the crucial creaminess to this dish. The caviar was an inspired choice too, just to add a little kick to the dish.

The ravioli was a wonder of lightness (freshly made pasta has a softer, lighter, fluffier bite). Mortadella is finely ground heat-cured pork with a good strong flavour. Pistachios and pecorino sauce added a little ‘spice’ to the dish.

The lemon and almond frangipane with basil flavoured cream was a great combination. Basil is an essential herb, so all-round useful. Reminds me of the frangipane cakes my mother used to bake with oodles of almonds in the mix.

The Bunét dessert is an absolute classic. I found it in my ‘Culinaria Italy’ It comprises egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder, crushed Amaretti, milk and traditionally a small glass of rum. It is cooked in a bain-marie (in a mould, placed in water in the oven), so a very slow gentle bake. It tastes divine. It retains such a moist, spongy consistency with a great kick of flavour. You probably need to serve this with Amaretti biscuits (as in this restaurant).

Fabrizio is proud of his wine list, with good reason. I sampled Ruche DOCG ‘Na Vota’ Cantine Sant Agata (2018) which I loved, smooth and somehow tastes of summer in the Italian countryside, enriched with ripened fruit.

We walked back through Chester, gazing at a clear navy-blue sky and a glowing crescent moon. Thinking how lucky are we to live nearby in Wirral and have such great restaurants and the river and seascape views. We had a great evening, met a lovely couple of restauranteurs, who ‘walked’ us through some regional dishes from a country with great culinary history. Totally recommend this one.


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