We realise the value a good restaurant can add to the dining out experience — beyond simply serving food.

We are fans of Prego; the venue exemplifies both good service and an enjoyable venue, plus pasta and pizza delights we both appreciate.

So, when it's just the food to consider, how did it fare? And three-courses for under a tenner? Rude not to.

A treat Prego does particularly well is dough balls. Filled with a rich memorable mix of blue cheese, bacon and red onion. Biting into these is a pleasure not dimmed by the takeaway experience. If anything the chance to cool down made them easier to consume.

Polpette was an unexpected starter option. These traditional pork and beef meatballs came in a light tomato and mascarpone sauce which was delightfully garlicky. Strings of mozzarella coiled on the warm sauce and the balls were pleasingly succulent.

Cat enjoyed penne with chicken, blue cheese and bacon (an unexpected substitution for broccoli). The sauce was creamy, its blue cheese tang caressed the plentiful chicken, while the bacon infused the dish with smoky kisses.

Matt chose his all-time favourite from the Prego menu, calzone piccante.

He predicted, rightly, that the sealed-up pizza would travel well. The giant pasty gave up its delicious contents in a burst of steam and spicy fragrances. Hot pepperoni, chunky bacon, chicken and chilli were all smothered in a generous slathering of mozzarella and tomato; all laced, unusually, with a sweet BBQ sauce that actually worked well to bring this rowdy menagerie of forthright tastes together.

We had one of each pudding on offer. In times past chocolate fudgecake might have been called chocolate sponge, and we'd have enjoyed its simple and unchallenging taste then, as we did this time. New York cheesecake was a flat iron of proper cheesecake, displaying notes of sour cream. We pimped the puddings with our own Haagen Dazs salted caramel ice cream — a great finish to this good meal.

Our Prego dinner was a good one. The doughballs and the calzone stood out as well worth recommending. The service at our own table is down to us alone - it wasn't a patch on Prego's. We look forward to the day when we can return to East Cowes for the full experience.

Matt and Cat's bill

Meatballs, Chicken and blue cheese penne, New York Cheesecake: £9.99

Calzone piccante: £12.50

Chocolate fudgecake: £4

Total: £26.49

Three stars: a decent place we'd recommend

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