over rated

Our global head came visiting today and I was one of the (un)fortunate minions who had nothing better to do so I got roped into attending dinner / court. Had to dress up in suit and all. I didn’t want to go, we were going to a posh Italian place and I knew I’d feel uncomfortable cos I have no table manners.

As it was, it wasn’t as upper class as I imagined. The waiters weren’t snobbish, they were actually really nice and attentive, though if we quizzed them on the food they may not come up with the goods. The food was, um, okay. Overpriced. Quality was of course good, but it takes a lot for Italian food outside Italy to surprise me nowadays.

We started with a complimentary appetizer which was a slice of smoked salmon with 2 leaves of lettuce and a kind of pesto vinagrette. Something more fitting to a common and garden buffet. Then I had a lobster salad – absolutely nothing special, the lobster was fresh and it was served with a standard tossed salad with rocket, lollo rosso and cherry tomato. Give me a fresh lobster and I could have pulled that together. It needed a salad with more kick and may be a couple of slivers of parmesan and high quailty balsamic vinegar.

Next was foie gras – cubes of the liver fried and served over mashed potatoes in a cocktail glass. No. That didn’t work.

The lemon sorbet intermission was nice.

For mains I had something the Italians wouldn’t have as a main. Linguine alla vongole. Whenever we used to go to a new Italian place the first thing we’d try was the vongole. To me, that is one of the standard dishes I judge a restaurant’s quality on. And this one, was ordinary, very ordinary. The linguine was on the wrong side of soft, the clams needed to be in their shell, and the garlic shouldn’t be 50% semi-raw and 50% browned slices. It needed more herbs, more pepper and way more white wine.

Too full for dessert, had a cup of tea instead. Came with chocolate and amaretti biscuits served over a tray brimming with dry ice.

The only outstanding thing was the wine, the boss chose the Amarone, which was probably one of the best reds I’ve ever had.

All in all, a nice enough meal. Nothing wrong. But nothing spectacular, not for that price anyway. For one of the supposedly top restaurants around, it really didn’t take my breath away, and it should have. I expected melt-in-the-mouth fireworks. I got journeyman.