Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Amerigo Vespucci

I went out tonight with Robin of Source it, cook it, eat it for one of our semi-regular catch-ups over a decent meal. It was my turn to choose the venue and I'd seen a £15 for two courses deal at Amerigo Vespucci that was too good to turn down (especially when coupled with a voucher for a free glass of Pimms each).

The Early Bird menu we'd gone for was very limited: only two or three choice which were not on the à la carte menu. I went for the spaghetti carbonara and then the trout alla finocchi (trout with fennel).

We had some bread whilst waiting for our starters. Nothing remarkable about that but on this occasion quite a notable experience. Having asked for bread we were poured extravagant amounts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar onto our side plates (I was even treated to extra vinegar splashed over me). Then nothing. We waited a fair while, finished the Pimms and took in the beige surroundings and awful background music, before hunger took over and we asked for the bread that had been promised. The Italians, kings of tasty carbs, serving up dull bread which I'm pretty sure it wasn't made on site. What a disappointment.

My carbonara was good: plenty of crispy bacon in a cream sauce that wasn't too rich. The pasta was a touch too al dente. When propositioned with extra pepper from a laughably huge pepper grinder I couldn't possibly refuse, so I'll take responsibility for that.

My trout was not so good. The whole fish was presented on a bed of fennel and onion. I presume the whole lot had been steamed together. However, it was undercooked. Never before have I had such trouble removing fish from the bone. The accompanying potatoes and veg were ok, but emptying the side plates onto my plate was unnecessary. Why not just leave the dishes on the table and I'll help myself?

Halfway through my fish I was accosted by a waiter as he lent round the corner and over me to give Robin his second glass of wine. Commendable flexibility from the waiter (scoring an 8.5 from the Russian judge) but an armpit on my head it not conducive to a great dining experience.

We briefly contemplated a dessert but a lacklustre selection and the promise of a beer proved more tempting. Then when the bill came we were charged for some olives which we never had (maybe the waiter ate them while we were waiting for the bread). This pretty much summed up the meal.

Amerigo Vespucci is just round the corner from my office and I'd heard great things from quite a few colleagues. I'd wandered passed at lunchtime when a host of be-suited gents were basking in the midday sun feasting on great food. I was looking forward to finally eating at one of Canary Wharf's hidden gems. I wanted to rave about this place but, alas, it is not to be. I'm so disappointed that the food was merely OK, by no means great, and the service risible. I'll certainly not be heading back there soon, especially not at full price.

Amerigo Vespucci on Urbanspoon

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