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Azzurro (Westcliff-on-Sea)

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      03.09.2001 21:17
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      • "thats it"

      When your friends and family tell you what sort of food they don’t like eating, Italian is highly unlikely to be on the list. It rarely offends, and there is usually something for everyone. Only vindaloo addicts will be disappointed. The Azzurro Italian Restaurant complies with these thoughts completely. Unlike the nearby classic Gattopardo, which I have reviewed before, this establishment is one of the newer breed – wood floors, sharp angles and pastel shades. It did not strike me until much later that azzurro is Italian for blue, and my recollection of the interior did not match that description, but I wasn’t going there for the colour of the paint. The menu is straightforward but is a mixture of the traditional and the inventive. My starter was a mix of fried chicken in a creamy spicy sauce, a seafood starter was big enough to be a meal and my in-laws were able to get their mandatory minestrone soup There is a good mixture of main courses, but for a seaside town, there was a shortage of fish dishes. Pizza and pasta were available for smaller meals. I had a pepper steak, which was entirely satisfactory, but my wife’s duck looked as if the precooking had made it a little worse for wear. Whilst the food is reasonably priced, the drink was a little expensive for what was very run of the mill. A very average bottle of Chardonnay was about £13. We went on a bank-holiday Monday evening, and the place was buzzing. It was quite noisy, and I was unable to hear the other end of our table for 7. It is very popular, and I would not contemplate going there at a weekend without booking. There are various combinations of set and a la carte menus. The three course set menu (good choice) midweek cost £15.95, but cost a couple of pounds more at a weekend.

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