Take a look inside the new Italian restaurant specializing in lasagna
When their eyes met on an outdoor club in Ibiza, Ashleigh Warren and Alessandro Lombardo weren’t sure what the future had in store for them.
Their whirlwind long-distance romance has stayed the course despite Ashleigh living in Nottingham and Alessandro in Italy – and now the couple have cemented their relationship to open a restaurant three years later.
Luckily for Nottingham foodies, it is here, rather than Rome, Alessandro’s hometown – but Lombardo’s is bursting with Italian flavor, charm and hope that guests will leave with a feeling of ‘abbiocco’ – Italian for “that sleepy feeling you get after a big meal.”
However, you won’t find a full menu of pizza and pasta dishes. The cozy 22-seat restaurant is a lasagneria – specializing in lasagna.
The idea of ââselling the popular Italian dish of stew sandwiched between layers of pasta sheets first started as a delivery service during the pandemic, then moved on to a trailer at pop-up events and markets around Nottinghamshire.
It all started when Alessandro moved to Nottingham to join Ashleigh, 26, who was working in recruiting at the time.
After texting and going back and forth between the UK and Italy for 18 months, the two moved in together, and Alessandro was planning to continue his career as a physiotherapist in the UK – but then Covid struck.
Confined at home doing nothing, the 31-year-old cooked and cooked, first making a traditional lasagna with stew and then one with sausage.
When friends suggested selling them via a delivery service, Alessandro was not convinced but Ashleigh thought otherwise.
She said: “Especially during Covid there was this rediscovered love for small business, local support and all that, and I was sure we could be on to something.”
She was right. “We put the lasagna down and we saw that people had transferred the money and we were like ‘I can’t believe someone just paid us for this’.”
Six months later, the couple bought a trailer to serve lasagna on the road … just as Alessandro’s registration to become a physiotherapist in the UK was over, but that career was put on hold.
The duo quickly became familiar faces at The Garage’s Sunday Market in Chilwell, pop-ups at Albie’s in Carlton and the Bingham Farmers Market.
Alessandro said: “We had such a good response but for me it was too cold to be outside. I wanted to welcome people – I like to chat with them and spend time with them and my dream was to open a restaurant since I was a child. “
After moving, they found a vacant property just around the corner – previously Mia Pizza and the Little Deli – in Hucknall Road, Carrington that was just the perfect size.
There is no pizza, no other pasta, steak or fish dishes like in other Italian restaurants.
Alessandro explained: “You can sell anything but I wanted to specialize in one thing every day of my life and do good. I didn’t want to be like all other Italians, I wanted to do something different.”
Diners can choose from six varieties of freshly made lasagna, starting with the best-selling La Classica – the traditional stew with bechamel sauce and Alessandro Diavolo’s creation, with spicy salami, sausage and ‘nduja.
Two lasagna are vegetarian, one with butternut squash and the other with basil and walnut pesto.
Ahead of the star attraction, a range of starters and small platters includes fried mozzarella with a sundried tomato and basil dip, buffalo mozzarella and Parma ham, and a bruschetta topped with tomatoes or pesto. .
To make it a three-course experience for those with an appetite, desserts of tiramisu, cheesecake, almond biscotti and a cheese board are served.
As well as being a restaurant, Lombardo’s also observes the Italian tradition known as the aperitif, between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., when friends get together to reflect on life with a glass of Aperol Spritz and snacks such as olives, focaccia and mozzarella.
âI take care of the desserts,â said Ashleigh, âand I’m the ‘layered’ on the lasagna. Alessandro does all the garnish.
âWe have pretty simple ingredients, but the quality of the ingredients is high, so you can taste it. ”
The charming little lasagneria has already won over an army of fans since it opened two weeks ago.
“It was so nice. We couldn’t have asked for it to be better. I think everyone had the experience we were hoping to have. We had such great feedback,” said Ashleigh.
After emptying the property, Ashleigh designed the set with a nod to Alessandro’s football team.
“The reason why we chose burgundy and gold is because it is similar to the red and yellow of the Roma football team. He is a Roma supporter through and through. So we knew what the colors of our brand image would be, âshe added. .
Currently, the restaurant and bar are open three days a week, from 3 p.m. on Friday and noon on weekends.
âThe tradition in Italy is to eat a lot on Sunday lunchtime because you are free so you want to feel full and then maybe go home and take a nap on the couch,â Alessandro said.
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