Kayla Brasserie-Bar serves quick Italian food on its lunch menu, in a dark and clean setting. Situated next to Inferno, on Holdenhurst road, the brasserie could appeal to people seeking a smart but casual business lunch.
Housed in an opulent, neo-classical style building, Kayla announces itself with an orange sign and decorations. Inside, the theme is continued with orange paint amidst black furniture and orange napkins. It’s dark but airy, with spacious ceilings. I arrive at 2.30pm and there were only two other customers who soon departed, leaving my guest and I the only clientele.
I sit down in the corner on a leather wall-bench and a lady quickly comes over to offer us drinks. She’s prim but not overly friendly. The bar looks well stocked at the back of the room. Newspapers are arrayed in front of a leather couch on the far side. The settings are comfortable and smart but perhaps a little too dark, especially for these winter days.
After we order drinks, my guest and I take a look at the menu. Kayla serves Italian-inspired fare, with pasta, pizza and paninis. There are burgers, jacket potatoes and omelettes available for more English tastes, as well as salads. A limited children’s menu also features. I go for the Spaghetti Carbonara, and my guest chooses the Hawaiian pizza. I briefly check my email using Kayla’s free WiFi, and listen to the cheesy 80s music being pumped out on repeat.
Our food arrives very quickly, both at once. I’m offered parmesan and black pepper for my pasta which I duly accept. Both our portions are of a decent size. My carbonara glistens with cream and I’m pleased that there isn’t too much sauce. I tuck in and find the spaghetti just al dente, but the herbs used to garnish appear to be dried. The bacon is soft and buttery, but overall it’s a little bland but good enough for its £5.45 price.
My guest’s Hawaiian pizza is very cheesy, the thin base is spongy and not crisp at all, and you can still taste the syrup on the pineapple from its tin. It too is priced low, at £4.95.
We ask to see the dessert menu but learn that of the apple crumble, chocolate pudding, treacle sponge and tiramisu – only the tiramisu is home-made. At £4.25 each, it seems a little dear for pre-made fare. We settle our bill and leave, moderately satisfied.