Sunday, October 26, 2014

La Ballerina (Covent Garden)

Situated behind a gorgeous statue of a ballerina itself, this Italian restaurant is usually frequented by theatre-goers just before they’re catching their show. I ate here under because I’d been walking for a while around Covent Garden, quite aimlessly, and was hungry. Not quite as cultured a motive for visiting it, but, with so few people inside, I wanted a bit of peace and quiet, it seemed a good location.

The food, truth be told, was pedestrian at best. The best steak I’ve had in London remains Hawksmoor, and I didn’t expect the steak in a normal restaurant to rival that of a specific steak joint, but, even the steak from Gaucho, which I had a few problems with, was better than this. It was a struggle to finish the steak here, as it was chewy, borderline uncooked. The vegetables it was presented with had an awfully school dinnerish look about it (see below), and the sauce, though plentiful (it arrived in its own pot), was a little tasteless and had to be lathered onto the steak in multitudes to have its effect. The one saving grace of the meal was the spaghetti, which was delicious, particularly coupled with some parmesan cheese, which the waiters gave generously.

And it’s the waiters at the this place why I am reluctant to give it an altogether terrible review. They were attentive, helpful and polite throughout - a vast difference from the majority of snooty waiters at most London eateries I’ve visited, who are only waiters through circumstance because they couldn’t make it as an actor/photographer/writer, and see fit to take that baggage out on the clients. There was absolutely none of that there. They had great tact - knew when to leave us alone - but were approachable and chatty. I liked them a lot.

But, alas, you can’t polish a turd, and for all their best efforts, there was a reason why there were about two families dining here when I first looked in. La Ballerina has a whole load of unnecessary policies in place that don’t make things easy for their customers - for example, you can only order wine by the glass if it’s the house wines (disgusting), anything more elegant has to be ordered by the bottle. What if we don’t want to consume a whole bottle of wine?! This place is practically pushing people into alcoholism. And let me tell you, I don’t need any help in that department.

So, from the outside, it may seem appealing to go inside a quiet place where you won’t be bothered and there aren’t many people. But next time I see somewhere like this, I will double-think. Just why is it, that this place is so empty in the first place?

Grade: D

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