We’d passed Pizza by Goli many times and it always looked busy, but we hadn’t been in for a meal until this evening.
It is located on Birmingham Road, in Sutton Coldfield’s heavily promoted restaurant district. It is one of two branches, the other being in Lichfield. When we arrived, the restaurant was as busy as we had seen it previously and when we walked in we were asked if we had booked, which we hadn’t. Luckily there was a table available for us. The trade-off was that we needed to be done within an hour, but that wasn’t a problem for us, so long as we were served in a timely fashion. It was Saturday night, they were busy. We were allocated a table in the darker, downstairs dining area that looked to be where large parties were catered for.
Contrary to what the restaurant’s name might suggest, the menu consists of a broad range of starters, pizza, pasta, meats, fish, and desserts. We weren’t drinking wine so didn’t look through the wine list.
For the starters, I went for one of the specials; a trio of bruschetta topped with mashed up avocado and goats cheese with a garnish of caramelised red onion. This was a great mix of sweetness and richness from the onions, creaminess from the avocado and cheese and crispness from the toasted bread. Jay chose the Costata di Maiale; a plate of Italian style barbequed spare ribs. These proved to be a very generous portion, closer to a main course than a starter. The meat on the ribs was extremely tender and smothered in a tomato sauce with a large presence of fennel seeds. We’ve enjoyed other Italian pork dishes which have included fennel seeds, and the two flavours go very well together. We both enjoyed our starters and were looking forward to the main courses.
For the mains, I ordered Linguini Genovese; a bowl of linguini in a creamy garlic-pesto sauce, with tiger prawns mixed in and a garnish of slightly cooked cherry tomatoes. Although big on flavours, especially the garlic, cream and sweetness and slight tartness from the tomatoes, the sauce did tend to dominate, and it was a shame that I wasn’t able to taste the prawns or pasta, though they did deliver on texture.
Jay ordered a vegetarian Pizza dell’Orto, which was topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, red pepper, asparagus, courgettes and artichokes. Presentation on this pizza was a strong point, with each vegetable appearing in a section of the pizza, rather than everything being mixed together. Although unexpected in terms of presentation, it was well received.
Service throughout the night was of an exceptionally high standard. With us sharing our dining space with large parties, it would have been easy for us to have been treated as an afterthought, but I am happy to say that this wasn’t the case at all. Each course was delivered in a timely fashion and we were offered refills of drinks when needed. As we left the restaurant at the end of the meal, all the staff we passed, even those which hadn’t served us, wished us good night, which I thought was a really nice touch.
The cost of the meal, including drinks, was just short of £35, which was very reasonable, especially considering the generous portion sizes.
Although we’ve had better pizza and pasta at other Italian restaurants, Pizza by Goli is still worth a visit and will appeal in particular to anyone who enjoys lively restaurants with a broad range of good quality classic Italian dishes.