Fratelli Italian restaurant is on the main street, down near the castle and across the road from Masterson's Steakhouse. The entrance is small enough, but once inside the room opens up into a lovely large space that is very nicely decorated in a contemporary style.
We visited at Halloween, and the room was fairly buzzing when we arrived, but we were soon seated in a comfortable round booth, looking out at the rest of the dining room, and across at the semi open kitchen on the opposite side.
A few years ago I reviewed the restaurant in the Crown Plaza hotel in Blanchardstown. To be honest I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary, just fairly well put together food that you’d expect in a mid range business hotel. The surprise was they took the idea of an authentic Italian restaurant seriously, and the food was terrific. Indeed Paolo went along soon afterwards and loved it too.
The reason I am telling you all this is because the man doing the cooking was Davide Suleymano, who is now in charge of the kitchen in Fratelli, and so I was looking forward to some real authentic Italian food.
We were soon sipping a complimentary glass of Prosecco and nibbling some freshly made garlic ciabatta, while we looked over the menu. It’s divided the Italian way into starters, pasta dishes, main courses and desserts. In Italy pasta is generally a small first course, to be eaten after you starter and before either the meat or fish course.
All the classics appear; there’s calamari, a prawn cocktail, antipasti misto and a Caprese salad. Pastas offer meaty Bolognaise, delicate Dublin Bay prawns with linguine or punchy Puttanesca.
Main courses offer choices of meat and fish, and highlights are an Italian fish stew, Osso Bucco and a choice of steaks, as well as some specials which include most of the fish dishes and are dependent on what is fresh on the day, which is always a good sign.
So we ordered like this; Deirdre started with the Caprese salad and followed up with fillet steak served alla griglia. I stared with a half portion of the linguine Puttanesca and followed it with one of the evening specials; black Dover sole with Dublin bay prawns, calamari and scallops.
The Caprese salad was perfect; proper Mozzarella from Ireland’s only producer of buffalo mozzarella, Toonsbridge, and the tomatoes had been allowed to come up to room temperature, so they tasted of tomatoes. The basil leaves completed the dish and it was authentic and delicious.
The Puttanesca is a punchy dish that is dirty tasty pasta at its best. The name translates as "whores’ pasta”, and the story most often heard is the name comes from the dish the working girls of Naples knock together for a quick bite between tricks. Whatever the truth, it’s messy and tangy and salty and lovely.
Deirdre’s main course of steak was perfectly cooked and served sliced on a board with a side salad, while my fish feast was just that. Delicate sole cooked au pointe, cane with the calamari. Scallops and prawns and was more that I could finish, so Dee got in on the act while I tasted her steak. A potato gratin and some skinny fries were both good, but were largely untouched; such was the generosity of the main portions.
We finished with a proper crepe suzette, made at the table, and complete with flames and lovely orange and Cointreax sauce. Haven’t seen this done in years and it was great, and they were great with a homemade ice cream that was speckled with real vanilla.
Fretellis is a very good Italian restaurant, and a great addition to Sword’s which is a town already well services with good places to eat. Well now it has a stonking Italian to boot.