My boyfriend and I ate here tonight as a "treat" for our two year anniversary. We are not made of money, and Fratelli Sarti is normally a little outside our price range but as it was a special occasion and I had had a fabulous meal there a few years ago, we gave it a go. What a complete and utter disappointment. Our two year anniversary is one we will not forget in a hurry - for all the wrong reasons.
We were fitted in at a table right next to the kitchen, which was fine by me as I like to see what goes on there. I don't know if it was because we were in the shadow of the kitchen, or because we are quite young and look like we don't have much money, or because of the big party that arrived the same time as us, but from the moment we sat down (the lady who seated us initially was lovely but that seemed to be her only job) the service we received was appalling. We were ignored for the first fifteen minutes completely then the Glaswegian man who I can only assume is the boss or maitre d' came to ask for our drinks order. When we were a little indecisive he promptly disappeared again - for a further fifteen minutes.
By this time other tables who had arrived later than us had received water, drinks, and had their food orders taken. We had had no water at all and had to ask for it, unlike other tables. When we asked we were told that this was because they had run out of water jugs! He brought us some water in a half carafe, and when we ran out and asked for more a little later the man topped it up with water that he had just removed from clearing another table! In what looked like a vase....
Finally our drinks were ordered and we made a point of ensuring our food order was taken then too rather than risking waiting another age. The drinks were the best thing we had all evening, and they should have been at the price they were. We paid over ten pounds for two spirits and mixer. Not too bad you might think, but given that the price advertised in the menu was cheaper than the price we paid, we were not impressed.
Starters arrived after not too long a wait - although they'd have got to us even sooner if they hadn't been sitting at the service hatch waiting to be brought to us until after every other table had been served first. A portion of garlic bread costing nearly five pounds was burnt and hard, and my starter was really poor - basically a blob of cheese covered with a scrap of bacon on a soggy bit of bread swimming in a sea of neat cream. I know ten-year-olds who have more culinary skill. And all for the princely sum of £7.50. Ouch.
The main courses were no better - pasta was slopped onto the plate with zero thought for presentation. You might think that it's all about how it tastes, but when you're faced with something that looks about as appetising as what our cat regurgitated this morning, it definitely affects your enjoyment of a meal. The spaghetti with meatballs only had one complete meatball and for a dish that was in excess of ten pounds should have been much better. And the lasagne was so so disappointing. Described on the menu as having bechamel, there was not an iota of sauce in sight. Instead it was a sloppy collapsed mess, with mince in a big pile on the plate and a few broken layers of very overcooked pasta hidden within. If there was any cheese in the dish at all it was also hidden. Offered Parmesan, we both asked for a hearty portion to pep up the disaster on both our plates, only to find upon eating that it didn't seem like Parmesan at all.
It was only then that I turned round and took a proper look at the strange receptacle that had been on a table behind me throughout the entire meal. What I'd thought upon a cursory glance was some kind of big serving barrel, turned out to actually be a huge Gran Padano cheese. Clearly despite advertising "Parmesan" Fratelli Sarti is serving this much cheaper and to my mind inferior alternative. False sales to say the least.
I wouldn't have minded that so much if I hadn't been unwittingly leaning on a cheese for much of my meal. It's not so much the grease I found in my hair that worries me as the fact that this is sitting out where anything can happen to it and then obviously being used for public consumption. Yuck!
I cannot stress enough how disappointing an evening this was. If we hadn't have been made to feel like we were unimportant and a nuisance then we would have probably not been quite so upset. However, it said it all when, upon being asked for the bill, the waitress asked if we had enjoyed our meal. When met with an unsure response, she demanded curtly "Yes or no?!"
Never, ever again. And I strongly advise anyone else reading this to think twice too. Especially if you are not over fifty with expensive-looking attire. I don't know what has changed (although there are rumours of a change of management) but Fratelli Sarti is massively different now. I wish I'd kept my hard earned pay packet that was completely blown tonight and gone home with my man for chips and a DVD.
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