New, Fresh but not overly exciting
The first of this months two meetings and our first as a team of 6, landed on Dean Maskell to chose the destination.As we are now a six strong team, I have decided to write these reviews a little differently. Each member of the group has written a little piece about their experiences, which I have written out below. We have a new rule that whoever choses the destination does not comment as to not show bias to their choice. Therefore, Dean is exempt from this review. Opened by two very experienced Italian restauranteurs, Franco and Paolo's is a pleasant addition to the otherwise dreary looking Locks Heath Centre.
Upon entering the restaurant, you are given a warm reception from the waiting staff and everything is new and clean looking! Here is Gemma's view of the evening :
"I found it a pleasant evening but seemed to be just missing the spark of a wow this is amazing foody experience. The 10% service charge is unexpected and a bit of a hit on our budgets.
The Meatballs were delicious to start and The Lobster Spaghetti was nice. I wouldn't say amazing but for lobster it was reasonable with the price.
Gilatto is always nice so again nothing amazing there. Restaurant appeared spacious but toilets were small but clean. Service was prompt (for most part) and friendly."
It is true that we were unaware that this restaurant carried a service charge on the table for 6. This was not clear on their website! Over to Dave :
"Nice evening with very friendly staff and food cooked well, I had Funghi starter (mushrooms in a cream sauce on ciabatta) with a calzone main. The calzone was delicious, but slightly greasy. The pastry was cooked in my mind to perfection. Dessert was a chocolate orange mousse tart and was simply fantastic.
It was an expensive restaurant after the service charge was added though."
It is difficult to budget for Grubgang rules with an unexpected sur charge on larger groups!! We are hoping this doesnt become a reccuring issue for the group now we are bigger! Pete's view:
"A newly opened restaurant with an obvious new feel about it. Lacked a bit of character as a result but made up by the friendly and courteous staff. Although I loved the photos and pictures plastered on the walls! Service was prompt, but expected for a quiet week night. My starter was the Polpette piccanti (pork and meatballs) and was lovely. Just enough for a starter, although I did get some bread to mop up the excess sauce afterwards. Not that I'm complaining... For main I also had the Calzone. Was fantastic, although I would agree with Dave that it was a little too greasy. Yet was made up by the lovely spicy calabrese sausage. Dessert was Gelati Misti (a selection of ice cream). Was as expected and would definitely agree with Gemma that it was nothing amazing. Did finish off with a hot chocolate, which was pleasant "
I have to agree about the photographs with Pete here, espcially the ones for the ladies pleasure in the toilets lol!! So, what did Mike reckon??
"I thought it was a nice restaurant the food was spot on I couldn't fault the food, my deep fried squid was lovely with the homemade sauce with it. the Main which was salmon from the specials menu was lovely and melted in the mouth and my desert which was the coppa ameratti was to die for. I thought the atmosphere was nice no loud music and the staff where friendly. I couldn't find the mens toilets so ended up waiting until we got back home. Although i would say that I was very dissapointed in being charged a service charge I think its a cheek that these restaurants charge for something which should be voluntary to give. it shouldn't matter how many people in your party"
I must admit, I didnt have a clue where the mens toilets were, but luckily, the other men in the group were lucky enough to find it!! The service charge has definitely caused a little issue here on this occassion! I felt that it was a lovely little place glad to have an italian close to home although glad that if I go again it will be in a smaller group to avoid the charge. My meal was tasty although the mixture of seafood in my spaghetti marinara was very rubbery as mostly mussles and squid. My starter was one of the best I have tried in a while even though im not a fan of the spicy sauce. Really feel the presentation should get a mention as it was very good. Decor was nice. Clean facilities and nice bit of company in the toilet to stare at shamelessly!! Agree not quite got the x factor compared to other places the Grubgang have visited, but service friendly and prompt and therefore I feel should not be put to far down in our expectations.
Many thanks to our new members for their reviews, our score for Franco and Paolo is.....
Marks out of 10............................................................... 6.5 (Dean Maskell)