Little Italy

My cannelloni was fine, and Daughter’s linguini was also fine, except she doesn’t appreciate al dente, but that’s her problem. She loved her starter of deep fried mozzarella and my olives seemed to go on and on. Maybe I got a portion for two?

My mineral water was reliably Italian, albeit expensive. Daughter looked in horror at her measly 200ml of Coke, so it was lucky they also placed a jug of tap water on the table. Except, had I known they would, I’d not have ordered my bottle…

The table. Yes, nice sized tables for two, and sturdy, so it didn’t feel as if the candles would fall off, despite the crush between tables. The restaurant as a whole was nicely, if predictably, decorated in green and red and white, with wood.

There even seemed to be a genuine Italian owning/running the place, which he did efficiently, getting his staff to do as they were told. And the two course lunch was good value at £7.95.

Little Italy

But – you could feel the but coming, couldn’t you? – everything lacked that nice Italian ambience, where you feel welcome and you relax and enjoy your meal, and think to yourself that you will return soon again.

It would have been good if this Italian hadn’t found us outside at 12.25, staring at the Closed sign, while the lunch menu stated it was served every day between 12 and 4. We could see the staff inside. Had they forgotten, or were they relaxing for a while longer?

He waved us in, rather peremptorily. Asked if we’d booked, and ‘graciously’ offered us a table we were lucky to get since we hadn’t. It was probably the worst table in the restaurant. OK, we hadn’t reserved, but we were first. And I had to remain standing holding my coat and bag while the waitress fumbled over lighting the candle, blocking my chair.

Funnily enough, no one who came in had booked, and they were all equally ‘lucky’ in securing their tables. I’d say all tables went in the order of worst first. Which meant that an hour later two pairs of women were lucky enough to be seated at the prime position tables. They did look so much nicer than we did.

So did the students in the middle. Pearl earrings and tidy hair and an escort looking like he was straight out of a film about posh undergraduates. I suppose that’s St Andrews for you. Especially on a Wednesday.

As soon as we’d eaten our nice tasting meal, and didn’t require the dessert menu we were offered the bill and it was clear we were expected to leave. We were intending to, but another five minutes would have achieved a more relaxed way of doing the same thing.

So, nothing wrong at all, really. Apart from not making us feel welcome. But then, tourists don’t return, and students are replaced every few years. And as I said about another recent meal out, we could have gone to Pizza Express instead, all of 30 seconds away.

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