Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Restaurant review: PREZZO (New Oxford Street)

Now that there’s a post-Oscar lull, my blog feels weirdly directionless. I’m currently consuming any black and white films I can get my hands on, so expect random review of classic movies! I shall also attempt to make my way through the huge backlog of restaurants and bars I’ve frequented (although the rate I dine out far outstrips the rate at which I review places!).

I attended Prezzo with a BuyAGift voucher, where the deal on the website was £30 for a three-course-meal with a glass of wine.

Firstly, when we went to the restaurant at 5pm, the place was relatively quiet, and there were quite a few seats available. However, the manager gave us a table where the seat that I was sitting on, the leather had started to peel off and the jaggedy edges of the leather were pointing upwards. It was a rare warm day that Saturday, and I was wearing a dress with no tights (pictorial evidence here), and thus I felt the full discomfort of the fraying leather.

I probably should have said something to the manager, but by then he’d already poured us our wine, plus it’s been instilled in me from a young age to just suffer in silence (my parents came to the UK when I was three and they were practically penniless, so the life aim for most of my formative years was purely to survive and not push the boat out too much, something which has clearly been etched into my cerebrum, and consequently, behavioural patterns).

I also considered the fact that the manager would have been well aware of the shoddy conditions of his restaurant, and known full well where the duff seats were. As I noted in my reviews of The Cuban and Salvador and Amanda, when you dine at some places using a deal, you get a noticeably second-rate service. So I don’t for a second think it was an accident that the waiter had placed me at this flaking seat, and I feared that pointing it out would result in nothing more than my dinner coming with a side order of saliva.

Aside from the comfort gripes, the food was also nothing to write home about. I’m used to being presented with reduced choice when dining using vouchers, but the restricted options here were almost risible! 

For mains, the only viable options were either the most rudimentary pizzas (ie margherita), or the most stereotypically Italian dishes (spaghetti bolognese or carbonara). I pity the vegetarian who dines with this deal, because they would have to choose either the plain pizza for their main, or a salad.

The limited choice could have been pardoned if the meals had been done well. After all, one of the most ace restaurants in Soho, 10 Greek Street, only gives their customers a selected range to choose from every day, yet everything is cooked to perfection. Sadly, this was not the case with Prezzo.

In my spag bol, there was way too much spaghetti (which everyone knows is the cheapest component of the dish), to disguise the fact that the beef was shoddily cooked, and from poorly sourced meat. The bolognese sauce was delicious, I’ll give it that, but then I dig anything which is rich in flavour. Nonetheless, the composition of the spag bol was off (the carbs: meat ratio was far too high) so I couldn’t savour the sauce fully.

I mean, just compare photos, between the image posted above, and the spag bol I had in Bacco. The chefs didn't even try to make their meal look appetising.

As for the other two courses, I had the mozzarella coated in breadcrumbs for starters. There was too much breadcrumbs and not enough cheese. I far prefer the McDonald’s mozzarella dippers. At just £1.69 for three, the cheese at the centre is much tastier than that in my starter here, and pleasingly sticky, too.

The dessert options were also none-too-inspiring (tiramisus, ice creams, cheesecakes. Options available at any restaurant, Italian, or otherwise). As we had not been given the complete menu, it’s hard to know exactly how watered down the options we had been presented with were, but I pray for Prezzo’s case that the actual menu is more interesting than what we were offered, because good God, it was slim pickings.

One of my pet peeves when it comes to dining out using voucher deals is when the management treat you like a second class citizen because of it. At the end of the day, I’ve paid to be here. Some of the other diners may be spending more money than me, but it’s not my fault they didn’t have the acuity to shop around to find the best deals first. So I don’t appreciate being passive-aggressively punished for my decision to attend your restaurant using a voucher. If you didn't want that to happen, you shouldn't have advertised on BuyAGift in the first place, fam.

Judging from the attentive, bordering on obsequious service the waiters offered the full price-paying women sat next to us, and how I had to flag the waiters several times just to get their attention, this is exactly what happened at Prezzo, New Oxford Street.

Grade: E


For reviews of all the restaurants I've been to, most substantially better than Prezzo, click here.


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