AN Italian restaurant chain has returned to Worcester as part of the £20 million Cathedral Square development.

Ask Italian offer many Italian staples such as antipasti, various pizzas, calzones, many pastas dishes, risotto and several salads.

Most come with a slight modern twist, such as the brisket bolognese or special ingredients, like the spicy sausage, chilli jelly and creme fraiche pizza.

The food, like most Italian fare, manages to be extremely tasty with very few ingredients.

Antipasti sharing boards offered a range of Italian meats and cheeses accompanied by pureed olive and garlic tapenade and seductively warm sea salt bread.

The 'prima' pizza comprised of crispy stonebaked dough covered with rich tomato sauce, sweet and succulent pulled beef, spiky gorgonzola and velvety caramelised onions.

The calzone filled with soft, salty goat's cheese, grilled peppers, succulent aubergines and tangy oven-roasted tomatoes was excellent.

For dessert, indulgent puddings came rich and carefully constructed. Hot toffee was poured over a dark chocolate cup to reveal vanilla gelato and thick, gooey chocolate fondant.

The pagoda-style interior, weaving ivy and hanging plants really brought the outdoors into the 144-seat restaurant.

Staff were easy-going and the restaurant was spacious and well-lit which made a relaxing atmosphere.

Tables outside offered prime views of the cathedral and a perfect opportunity for drinks and a bite to eat as well as al fresco eating.

Younesse Chibane, general manager, who welcomes the £20m development, said: "Cathedral Square was a bit of a dry area and nothing was happening.

"Even though it still looks a bit like a building site outside there is still a lot of excitement."

"There will be plenty of competition between all the other businesses and the customers will have the opportunity to go elsewhere if they don’t like it. So far the reaction has been fantastic."

"We offer premium food and service and what we’re doing is a winning formula.

"These are just walls and fixtures, the difference is the people that work here."

Ask currently employs 38 people but are still looking to add to their team.

After the previous Ask Italian on Angel Place closed in January 2013, Younesse said: "The old restaurant was probably just in the wrong place but we’re not going anywhere."

The grand opening of all the venues in Cathedral Square took place on Saturday (July 29).

Other names at the site include Starbucks, YO! Sushi, Miller & Carter, Byron Hamburgers, Cosy Club, All Bar One, Jung Fu, Fitness4Less and Wilko.