IMMO, WokinghamBy Sally Bryant
November 21, 2008
iMMO is as eye-catching as its name and quite a different type of Italian from the others in Wokingham.
The restaurant opened a year ago in historic Montague House in Broad Street and the atmosphere is as individual as the roof over its head.
There are only a select handful of iMMO restaurants – the upmarket venues owned by the popular Prezzo chain – and Wokingham’s is certainly a stylish addition.
The company prides itself on the way it puts its eateries in historic or landmark buildings and it has certainly pulled off a makeover to be proud of here.
Many will remember Grade II-listed Montague House was the town’s library until the early 1990s and then a college adult education centre.
Somehow the very bricks have retained a sense of dignified but comfortable calm.
Sympathetic design has split the part of the building that is now iMMO into fairly small dining areas (seating 80 in total), each with its own ambiance.
Those dining while looking out onto Broad Street, for example, may gaze at the fireplace and ornaments and almost think they are in a rather grand, but comfortable drawing room.
And whereas ‘comfortable’ and cosy are key words for this restaurant, banish any thoughts of crumbling ancestral piles or even shabby chic.
The décor is sharp and smart, even the coat stand looks designer and every piece has been carefully chosen. Colourful artwork makes a real statement and – weather permitting! – the award-winning garden is a perfect haven.
But as restaurants cannot stand on décor alone, what about the food? Prezzo’s aim with iMMO is to offer finer dining, as well as smarter surroundings.
Of course pasta, risotti and pizza are on the menu, but there is also rib-eye steak with peppercorn sauce, roasted garlic mash and broccoli, or fillet of salmon baked in creamy saffron sauce.
Those who do want to indulge their passion for pizza can choose from 11, all wood fire-cooked with toppings as tempting as finely-sliced bresaola and asparagus.
Pasta is adorned with everyone’s favourite mozzarella and tomatoes, but also goes posh with oak roasted salmon.
And before you even get to any of these there are starters guaranteed to make your mouth water – who can resist antipasto misto, roasted aubergine stuffed with four cheeses, the clean taste of whitebait with rocket and lime or the simple pleasure of smoked salmon with freshly baked focaccia?
There are some heady choices for Italian food lovers. If you also consider the good selection of wines, spirits and liqueurs, all the ingredients for a treat are waiting for you.
iMMO isn’t the venue for a rowdy night on the tiles but it is cosy and relaxed, and tables are well-spaced so you won’t feel obliged to join in your neighbour’s conversation.
Manager Ahmet Karakurt and his staff offer a welcome as warm as the Med. This restaurant can be perfect for a romantic meal for two or that long-overdue catch-up with friends, and families are welcome – alla salute!
- Read this week's Wokingham Times for an exclusive interview with iMMO chef Jose Pestana and one of his favourite recipes.
- Telephone: (0118) 9787 5139
31 Broad Street