A table in the bar area by the window became available so we got out of everyone's way and sat there. We were very comfortable there and enjoyed watching the party goers walk by and when our actual table was ready and the lovely hostess came to get us, she also suggested that we could stay put if we so desired and so we stayed there. The hostess even brought over a white tablecloth to formalise proceedings!
The menu is extensive and then with a couple of specials thrown in, then truly spoilt for choice and so many things sound so delicious and appealing.
Have to admit the courses came slowly and did drag out. Although our hostess was lovely in the beginning, by the time it was entree time we didn't see her any more and when the waiters were present they were efficient but we were very much left alone for long periods of time and water glasses were not refilled regularly.
Onto the food though. I had the gnocchi and it was delicious and just the right size. The gnocchi was light and fluffy and the ragu meaty and tomatoey. Yummy. Steve's whitebait also went down well. Crispy and still meaty there was a lot of them and they were done well. Apparently no complaints with the prawns and the tuna.
Steve had the risotto and said it was what he needed on a hangover and it was pleasant enough but the duck risotto at Tutto Bene is better. Kirsty seemed to enjoy the bucatini but wasn't enamoured and apparently the flavours weren't as big as they could be. I think the veal cutlet went down fine for Marty. I enjoyed most of the duck - some of it was a but fatty and flabby and I think the spatzle was actually a bit too buttery to go with it all. I liked the flavour of the spatzle by itself and maybe with a leaner cleaner meat. The texture was a bit bitty though and more like scrambled egg rather than actual bigger pieces.
In this high end Italian space I think Cecconi's does it slightly better both in service and food. Dessert didn't appeal to us and getting menus and waiting for them to take the order just seemed to take too long as did trying to catch someone's eye to get the bill and then the subsequent card payments. So much so that we actually just upped and left using the door in the bar and slipped out and no one said good bye or were around to help us. I appreciate that because we had a late booking, by the time we were finishing it was closer to midnight and so they may have been on reduced staff numbers but the place was still pretty busy with customers so I expected more by way of attentiveness.
The verdict is that it was nice enough. I think regulars are treated well and don't have the service issues we encountered so if we were regulars it would probably be a much better meal. Unfortunately we don't live close enough nor was it good enough for us to want to become regulars. Chicken and egg situation really and I didn't like it enough to break the cycle and confidently say that we would return of our own accord.