The lamb kidneys placed in front of me at this deep south Italian joint looked beautiful: plump little mounds of offal on toast promising an explosion of flavour. While the taste was certainly good, I couldn’t help feeling the kidneys lacked a little oomph, possibly on account of being just a touch too dry for my liking.
The prawn and zucchini risotto that followed revealed perfectly cooked fat chunks of rice. Unlike my own usual mushy attempts, the grains of rice had kept their shape. The prawns and baby marrows were well judged too: crunchy on the outside and full of juice in the middle.
A couple of minutes after a manager had placed the dish in front of me he returned with an additional side portion of the same, saying he had noticed my portion was too small (I hadn’t complained and after the rich starter was hardly concerned about going home hungry). Like the kidneys the risotto was very good but not great: the taste seemed to stop earlier than I expected. But I am being extremely fussy here, in part because the joint came recommended as a great Italian.
My girlfriend’s courses suggest this popular suburban restaurant prepares most meals well. The bruschetta with mixed toppings was acceptable, though possibly a little bland. Her chicken liver pasta was better. Lovely soft and chunky ribbons of fresh restaurant-made pasta and full-flavoured liver. However, we both found it a little salty: was this because of the parmesan which had melted into it in the kitchen? Why can’t the diners add their own to taste?
Like many restaurants in newish locations A Tavola is all glass and harsh flooring. This obsession with minimalism can make a restaurant literally and figuratively cold when empty and too noisy when full. This place is neither. The deep red livens it up while the drapes soften it. The busy Thursday crowd in the middle of the deepest recession since the 1930’s indicated agreement. Service was enthusiastic and efficient. Can’t wait to go back and try out the rest of the menu.
July 9, 2009
Tel: 021 671 1763