Goodness, where to start.....
Well I suppose the best place to start would be the menu. I was invited here by a friend and, as you do, perused the menu the day before in order to see what was on offer.
This was the point, my reservations began. Uninspiring, unimaginative and in fact, downright dull, sprang to mind. As there is a grill restaurant on the premises, I can only assume, contractually, this is the reason Vinny and Vito, promising on their advertising to become "your new local Italian", don't serve Steaks. Personally, a good fillet steak is one of the prime (excuse the pun), reasons you would visit an Italian however, I'm open to suggestions.
Having spent a few minutes looking over the menu, I realised I was going to have trouble selecting a dish that would even remotely appeal however, I went along determined to give my "new local Italian" a chance. I shouldn't have.
We were seated by a waitress wearing a polo shirt and jeans, different. She had not however, come in on her day off, she was even wearing such attire as part of a charity quid for jeans day. This was in fact, the uniform she had been requested to attend to customers in.
I cannot fault the politeness of the staff, although it could possibly be suggested that the food served up was in fact an attempt by the chef to insult anyone who had dared to ask him to re-heat anything.
I ordered, with an increasing amount of trepidation, a starter of smoked cheese and cured ham, allegedly baked in the oven. (Baked, microwaved it's the same isn't it?). My friend ordered the tomato and mozzarella salad. As it turns out, the word salad should have been taken with a pinch of salt. Not that an extra pinch of salt was needed with the cheese and ham.
After a considerable wait, our starters arrived. My offering consisted of microwaved cheese wrapped in ham that had had been cremated to the point of oblivion, complete with half a crop's worth of stale herbs atop. To say it was unenjoyable would be an understatement however I plodded on as I didn't want to insult my dining partner who had invited me out for the evening.
Her salad was no better and consisted merely of five largely and poorly cut tomato pieces and a sprinkling of mozzarella. Where the salad was, I have no idea.
At this point, I was mulling over which takeaway would be best to call at on my way home which certainly spoils your mood somewhat when an evening of culinary delights had been promised. After all this is "your new local Italian".
The mains ordered were the chicken Rigatoni and the mozzarella chicken. The minute the aforementioned plates of food arrived, it became apparent the evening was in bigger trouble than I had first feared. I was presented with a flattened chicken breast, battered to within an inch of its existence, topped with what looked appeared to be tomato relish. I say appeared because to the best of my recollection tomato relish has some flavour. This "sauce", not so much. My friend's pasta dish appeared to be remarkably similar to a microwave meal I had eaten a few days before and in fact looked like it had been cooked several nights ago.
The chicken I attempted to enjoy tasted and looked like an effort from the Birdseye frozen range and was so tasteless and full of water, I would have considered sending it back had I been dining in McDonald's. The chicken pasta dish, turned out to contain no chicken. A novelty for a chicken dish granted but by this stage, not a shock.
The two now weary diners, plodded through as best we could, neither really wanting to be so impolite as to say just how bad the experience was. Oh and the roast potato side dish ordered was neither roasted nor cooked.
Granted this establishment is a chain and granted the audience is captive. Granted hotel guests are often happy just to get a hot meal at the end of the day. But Vinny and Vito, here is something you can take for granted.....this is not, and never will be "my new local Italian".
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