These people have said some very nice things about us, so we thought we’d let them do the talking:
“Francesca Costa and Francesco Vardaro really have created their own little piece of Italy at Divino Deli, a tiny shop and café tucked away off Blackboy Hill.
Francesca was born in Bristol but her family comes from Sicily and Francesco was born in Italy so their credentials for running an Italian deli are impeccable.
Walk through the door of this former cheese shop and you could easily be in a small delicatessen in a remote Italian mountain village, or a provisions store in the back streets of Naples.
With fridges piled high with a wide range of cheeses, olives and charcuterie, huge salamis and hams hanging from hooks on the ceiling, shelves of wines and packets of unusually shaped pasta and boxes of chocolates, Divino Deli certainly flies the Italian flag with pride.
Shiny stainless steel dispensers with taps encourage customers to fill their own containers with the carefully sourced olive oils, and an Italian-made granita machine behind the counter dispenses a frequently changing range of refreshing ices – melon or coffee on this visit – which are essentially slush puppies for the more discerning palate.
Although essentially a shop and takeaway, there are a few stools if you want to stop off for lunch, or a mid-morning pastry and coffee.
Beneath a gallery of family photos of Italian beach holidays and birthday parties, this tucked-away counter is ideal for those who want to play it cool and perfect their best Marcello Mastroianni or Sophia Loren impressions, sipping espressos or flicking through the pink pages of the La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Food is served throughout the day, as and when it emerges from the kitchen. It might be a slice of pizza topped with mushrooms, peppers and olives, or a salad of cherry tomatoes, red onion and tuna.Other choices include “stuzzichini” (finger food) – Puglian green olives, focaccia topped with extra virgin olive oil from Sicily and five-year-old aged apple balsamic vinegar.
The main event at lunchtime, to eat in or take away, are the panini, served on focaccia or ciabatta. Combinations include Parma ham, mozzarella, sun-blushed tomatoes and rocket; tuna, sweetcorn, red onion and mayo; and pan-fried chicken in breadcrumbs, cheese, sun-blushed tomatoes and mayo. Alternatively, there are daily soups, hot pasta dishes and arancini – Sicilian rice balls stuffed with such enticing fillings as spinach and mozzarella, or ragu sauce.
My Bunga Bunga panini was the most expensive item on offer, at just £5, which represents fabulous value for the quality of the ingredients. Served in a hot ciabatta baguette, it was packed with slices of spicy, crumbly Italian sausage, melting Provolone cheese, wilted friarielli (a pleasingly bitter, almost grassy leaf not unlike chard) and a dribble of chilli oil for an added kick. I followed it with a crisp, flaky sfogliatine (£1) – a small pastry filled with pistachio cream – washed down with a can of fizzy blood orange juice.
VERDICT: A Tardis-like deli-café that punches well above its diminutive size, when it comes to serving authentic Italian food, Divino is a double delight.”