Tradition and innovation prove recipe for success - The Leamington Observer

Tradition and innovation prove recipe for success

ITALIAN food can be found the world over – it’s a cuisine that travels well. Leamington is not short of good Italian eateries, both chain and independent, but there’s always room for another good one, and Tavola fits that bill.

The latest offering to the town’s burgeoning dining scene is located in a 200 year-old building in Clarendon Street, which in recent years was best known to most as Bar 44. Those familiar with its previous incarnations will be pleasantly surprised by the transformation it has undergone before starting its new life – a decor inspired by Italian surrealist painters of the 1920’s, which was the vision of Birmingham-based design company Faber.

Proprietor Rob Singleton said: “Tavola is a homage to the bars and trattoria of northern Italy and Rome where the best Italian ingredients are prepared with love, care, and skill and where hospitality is done right.

“We feel we have created somewhere our neighbourhood can be proud of, somewhere our guests will always find a warm, open-armed welcome.

“Team members who have grown up in Leamington as well as Italy make up our front of house. We all have the same values around hospitality and every member of the team is here because they love people and love nothing more than being part of the most enjoyable parts of people’s lives, eating and drinking and being together.”

And that warm hospitality is evident as soon as you step through the door. The staff are friendly and attentive, and also knowledgeable of everything from the menu to the range of cocktails.

Of course if Tavola is going to prove a success, particularly with the competition in Leamington, then the food needs to hit the spot, and the new menu created by Tuscan executive chef Martin Serafino appears to be a winning one.

“I’m very excited for this new menu. I want to encourage people to try something they never tried before,” he said.

“I love to express myself through food so there will be some experimenting. But my main goal is to share the beauty of my own country as well as celebrating how every country has different traditions and different ways to cook.”

We certainly had no complaints, the Chicken Parmigiana was beautifully presented and perfectly cooked, while the Pomegranate and Gorgonzola Pinsa Roma pizza, with sharp parmesan, crunchy walnuts and a peppery finish of fresh rocket, perfectly showcased both Martin’s vision for Tavola, one where tradition meets innovation, and his obvious skill in the kitchen.

As well as seasonal and specials menus, Martin is also serving up his signature Schiacciata sandwich range – using a special Tuscan pressed focaccia made fresh on the premises.

And cocktail lovers will certainly find their tastebuds treated thanks to a familiar face to regulars. Luke Hampson has stayed on as front of house manager and mixologist after several years in the business’s more recent history.

We enjoyed a stunning non-alcoholic Strawberry Mint Mocktail and a wonderfully indulgent Espresso Martini.

This venue has seen many changes in recent years, but in Tavola, it could, and on the strength of our visit I would say should, have found a forever match.

Visit for further details.

Gareth Beddows

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