This is the last meal W and I shall share before she jets off home, so in a final attempt to have London impress her with its edible offerings and also simultaneously sate her all-consuming appetite for Italian food, she decides on Zafferano.
I should have paid more attention to the omens; first, W was over thirty minutes late for lunch (traffic), then once actually at the restaurant, my lunch reservation had apparently disappeared, even though I had confirmed it the evening before (I had even been assigned a window table, or so I was told); fortunately, they still managed to accommodate us. Things brightened up a little when I was greeted by the now ever-smiling Constantino who showed us to our table and took our orders. Alas, the menu had hardly changed since my previous meal, so I let W steer today’s selection.
Stuzzichino: Parmegiani e focaccia. These were the same hors d’oeuvres as on my last visit; creamy chunks of parmesan cheese and soft cherry tomato-topped focaccia. What had changed however was that I learnt (at the end of the meal though and thus too late…) that this petite platter of cheese and bread was costing me £15. Rarely do I mention prices, let alone complain about them, but I felt especially aggrieved by this. First, these items come without requesting them; secondly, at no point and by no means is one made aware of their cost; thirdly and more importantly, I am not able to eat pork, but still paying full price; and fourthly and most importantly, it is simply not worth £15 – after all, a four course lunch is £39.50. Pour l’amour du ciel!
Il Pane: Grissini, ciabatta, olive bread and brown bread. The bread selection now differed; the white bread with tomato or mushroom filling had been replaced by ciabatta and olive bread. Unfortunately, this ciabatta was more like plain white loaf in masquerade; it had neither the requisite crisp crust nor porous middle to call itself anything else. The olive bread was decent, but the olives were simply sprinkled on, rather than infused into the bread.