Princi report, Wardour Street, Soho. [London]
I had a very underwhelming dinner at Princi a couple of nights ago. Two of us shared a couple of slices of pizza, a tomato/mozzarella salad, spinach, aubergines and a sfogliatelle. The place was packed, yet most of the pizzas were tired and looked like they had been sitting there for a while. We asked for ours to be reheated, but they were still on the cold side, and the cheese rather plasticky (we tried a margherita and a bianca with zucchini). The dough was thick and bready, not my favorite style.
As could be expected in this season, the tomato half of the tomato/mozarella salad was terrible. We ordered it because my dining companion wanted to try it, and the server recommended it when I asked her for advice. While I realize that this is one of their best selling items, if they cannot source decent tomatoes at this time of year, it shouldn't be on the menu. The mozzarella was quite good, and could have made a fine dish on its own instead.
The spinach was from a precooked tray, and was rather light on flavor (we asked for some olive oil to drizzle on top to try and make it more appealing). The aubergines were the highlight of the meal, not amazing, but superior to everything else. Finally, the sfogliatele was ok but not great. The citrus flavor in the filling was overwhelming, and the dough was tougher than I like.
I was quite disappointed, because while I didn't have a full meal at the original in Milan, the pizzas there were quite good, as they just constantly kept coming out of the oven to try and satisfy the long line of people ordering them. This location seems to be really more about pre-prepared food to be reheated, so maybe dishes like the lasagna will be more successful.
I've only had lunch at Princi, but I've usually enjoyed the food. I wouldn't think of it as much of a dinner place - especially because of the seating arrangements. The hot dishes for lunch are usually fine, but maybe that's because I rarely eat Italian food unless I make it myself., and I occasionally crave some of what I call eggplant parmigiana.
Had dinner there last night - decided to try that as I was intrigued by the nightly queues.
I guess popularity does not necessarily transpate into excellence in the kitchen. - the couple of pizzas we tried Capricciosa (ham, artichoke, black olives, mozzarella, tomato) and Bresaola (bresaola, rocket, parmesan, tomato) were both indifferently made & pushed out to our table. Mine was brought out to me *together* with my pumpkin & chestnut soup order - I guess with the waiting line outside, they just wanted diners in and out of the place *fast*.
Chewy-doughed pizzas with soggy centres, not too appealing. The soup was average at best.
The pizzeria section has a separate menu from the other bustling more crowded self-serve cafeteria section, so we trudged over for a couple of desserts which definitely looked more appealing than they tasted.