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King of the castle: Castello Italia makes seamless transfer to takeaways

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Castello Italia

Castello Italia

Castello Italia

A HIGH-END restaurant with a reputation for serving up classy Italian food has made a seamless transfer to takeaways.

Before Covid-19 shut down the hospitality industry, Castello Italia in Carrickfergus was making waves as big as those in the harbour opposite.

I'd been planning a long lunch there, as much as to enjoy the views of Belfast Lough as the food. Then the virus struck and the world ground to a halt.

While Castello's doors will remain shut until the July 3 reopening of restaurants, it can still provide great grub.

In between delivering free meals to the needy, it has been running a fantastic takeaway service, which my family thoroughly enjoyed last weekend. The order was phoned in earlier that day, with a pre-arranged collection time provided.

The sun was shining when I arrived at the doors to have a member of staff place the food in the boot of my car. It was a cruel trick for the weather to play, making me long for the time when I can sit inside the restaurant again and enjoy a meal and the view.

As for the food, it was very, very good. We skipped starters, opting for filling mains of lasagne with fries and a Sunday special of roast beef on the bone with green pesto mash, honey roast carrots and broccoli in a red wine gravy.

Both were fantastic and, crucially for any takeaway, were still warm when we got them onto the plates at home.

A side of garlic bread was gobbled up, as was a portion of parmesan fries, which were the only disappointing aspect of the meal. That's hardly Castello's fault though as chips steam when put into packaging, causing them to lose any crispness.

We finished with two brilliant tiramisu that packed a real coffee punch in between the creamy mascarpone and cocoa-heavy ladyfinger biscuits.

All that finery was washed down with a couple of bottles of Peroni Italian lager - the restaurant does four of them for a tenner - and a lovely £14 Marlborough sauvignon.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions Castello Italia is offering a limited menu of pasta and pizza, the exception being on a Sunday.

When I arrived to pick up my food, most customers were collecting pizzas, which do look excellent. Twelve-inch pies cost on average £11 and I have heard very good things about them.

The restaurant has also started doing charcuterie boxes filled with quality meats, breads, cheeses and accompaniments.

Last Sunday local singer-songwriter Kyle McDowell took to the Castello balcony to belt out a couple of classics to entertain customers enjoying their food in the sunshine on the green opposite.

It's going to be a regular thing so why not call down? You won't be disappointed.

The Food

Beef £14

Lasagne £11

Parmesan fries £3

Garlic bread £2.50

Tiramisu x2 £10

Beer £10

Wine £14

TOTAL £64.50

The Rating

Three stars

Belfast Telegraph