[London] Locanda Locatelli
We didn’t take much to the room. A classic example of the modern corporate hotel style. And they cram you in – it was necessary to pull our table completely out to allow access to sit down – and we had to perform a similar exercise later when a loo visit was needed.
Nor did we take much to the service which approaches the style of “we are doing you a favour allowing you to eat here”. Not quite as bad as that but along those lines. And made worse by the fact that the first we heard of there being “specials” was when they were recounted to the next table – of course, we were halfway through the meal by then. The exception is the sommelier who was excellent – friendly, efficient & helpful.
Some good grissini was served with the menus. Later a plentiful basket of bread came – some of it was good. Dipping olive oil was excellent and very fruity.
Tordelli di patate was good pasta surrounding an underseasoned filling of potato. It was considerably perked up by wild mushrooms. Strozzapreti came with very simple accompaniments – tomato and rocket. Good flavour of tomato; the rocket just wilting nicely.
Pork fillet with a fruit/mustard crust was a curate’s egg of a dish. The meat was tender and with a good flavour. It came wrapped in ham – still with the securing string (sloppy kitchen work going on there). The crust had a nice background fruity flavour but I couldn’t discern any mustard. Borlotti beans were a good accompaniment.
The other main was a plaice fillet with a basil crust. This was good. Very good. The basil providing a flavour “punch” to the delicate flavour of the fish. It could have overpowered it – but didn’t.
“Tart of the day” was lemon and was very good. I ordered the “tasting of Amedei chocolate” but was served the wrong dessert. It was another chocolate one so I didn’t really notice until I had all but finished it and commented to my partner that it wasn’t very good for a “tasting”. In fact, it just wasn’t very good at all.
Coffee was fine. Petit fours just OK.
The Good Food Guide gives it a 6 and it holds a Michelin star. I’m disappointed to say, both seem over-rated on our experience. There were more slips in the cooking and service than you would want.
I have had two recent(ish) visits myself, over the summer, and both times, service was wonderful. But I agree about the clumsy design of the booths, necessitating the unnecessary fuss of pulling the whole table out.
I have never tried the dishes you described, but I must say that on my first visit the quality of the cooking was better than on my second.
The desserts have never really impressed me. I think the best bet here is the tiramisu, which I have not ordered, but it is the same recipe as at Zafferano and there, it is delicious.
Locatelli visit 1: http://foodsnobblog.wordpress.com/2008/07/03/locanda-locatelli-london/
Locatelli visit 2: http://foodsnobblog.wordpress.com/2008/08/16/locanda-locatelli-london-the-return/
Zafferano visit 1 (with tiramisu): http://foodsnobblog.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/zafferano-london/