Caldesi in Campagna

There are few words to describe just how good this meal was.

However, in the spirit of blogging, I'll give it my best shot. 

I think that Chez was pretty excited about the whole affair.

Caldesi in Campagna (not to be confused with it's sister establishment, Caffe Caldesi) is an Italian restaurant in Bray, and my location of choice for celebrations.

We came in June to celebrate my 18th birthday and it was the second best meal I've ever had.

That's a pretty bold statement considering eating out is my favourite 'hobby' and I really love food, if you haven't guessed already.

On Sunday they offer three courses for about £30 which is seriously, seriously good value because the food is unbelievably amazing and the staff are beyond friendly.

They even remembered us and everything we'd ordered back in June... now that's a level of service very few restaurants can brag about.

All of the best meals start with bubbles. To keep with the Italian theme, we opted for Prosecco.

A very fuzzy cheers!

I forgot to mention that we actually came here as my university send-off meal as I'm moving to London on the 20th to begin studying French and ab-initio Italian.

Hopefully next time I'm here I can chat away with the all-Italian staff as at the moment, I get stuck after 'ciao'.

While we browsed the menus, a basket of fresh bread was swept onto the table.

Sundried tomato, wholemeal and sea salt foccacia, ripe for dipping in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

To start, Mum chose the Antipasto; a selection of grilled vegetables, olives and cured meat.

James ordered the Sea Bass ravioli swimming in lemon and herb butter.

My sister and I both chose the scallops with crispy pancetta, truffles and celeriac puree.

Scallops are my favourite seafood. I love their velvety texture and seared top (when they're cooked properly!)

Dad opted for the slow-cooked calamari in tomato sauce but I couldn't get a decent picture. It looked delicious, though!

One thing I love about Italian restaurants is that pasta dishes can be ordered as either a starter or main course.

Remember James' ravioli?

Mum, Chez and I all ordered it as our main event.

This is the best pasta dish I have ever eaten. And I love pasta- a lot.

You know when you have ravioli and the filling is an unidentifiable grey mush?

Yeah, this isn't like that. You can see each flake of sea bass which shows just how much care goes into the food.

James chose the 'roast': duck stuffed with Italian sausage and sprinkled with truffles.

Chilli green beans on the side.

Calves liver with mash and garlic spinach for Dad.

The time came for pudding and things got exciting.

My sister and I wanted to try everything, and my parents didn't want dessert.

 Seeing as there was no extra charge for pudding on the Sunday menu, their puddings were basically free anyway. So we got one of everything...

Tiramisu with berries. Oooooh so good.

James and I had seen someone else order this and said "I want one of those."

These doughnut sticks are pretty special. They're the only thing I remember from coming here when I was younger and rightly so.

They come served warm and rolled in sugar with vanilla cream and sambuca jelly. 

If you order one thing, order these. (And the seabass ravioli.)

We also ordered a semifreddo with hazlenuts and pistachios on a bed of chocolatey-stuff. 

It wasn't to my taste because I don't like marzipan but my mum and sister loved it.

Then came the obligatory limoncello shot which I just couldn't stomach. 

If you're looking for a treat I couldn't recommend Caldesi enough. As I said, the staff go above and beyond to accommodate you and the food is second to none. (Website and bookings here.)