“ 44a Floral St, West End, WC2E 9DA, Tel: +44 (0)20 7836 3969 „
Bertorellis have opened a new chain of cheaper restaurants caled 'Il Bertorelli' one of which has opened in our village so my flatmate and I decided to go and try it out yesterday. The site was up until recently a Caffe Uno - cheap and cheerful Italian restaurant which served nice pizzas, pasta and salad with reasonable prices. We hoped Il Bertorelli would be the same. We arrived after the lunch rush at just after 2pm but the restaurant was quite busy - which we assumed was a good sign. We were seated quite out of the way in the entrance but were quite happy with this as it kept us away from the busier dining area on a kind of mezzenine level where there were lots of noisy children. So far so good. We were handed menus and ordered a jug of tap water which we were quite pleased was not viewed with any kind of disguest as often happens. The menu's come folded up which was a little odd and the wine lst consists of a kind of paper place mat (which mine was dirty by the way) which said a little too much Pizza Hut to me but hey ho. My flatmate and I had spied the amazing looking desserts going out of the kitchen when we entered and so decided to go for healthy starters and mains to allow room for a giant looking chocolat sundae. It took some time for the waitress to take our order but I eventually opted for the bruchetta while my friend went for prawns. Starters are quite good value with a sharing option available - one item was around £4, two for £8 and three for £11, the only exception is the prawns which they add a £2 surcharge too. We waited over half an hour for our starters, which when arrived mine consisted of some toast with three dips - pesto, canellini bean and tomato and red onion. The first two were delicious, the tomato was just chopped poor quality tomato and some red onion in a dish, There was also not enough ciabatta to use up all fo the dips -which seemed a bit pointless. In contrast the prawns looked great and my flatmate confirmed they were good. For mains I ordered the house salad with no pancetta (as I am vegetarian) which consisted of rocket, cos, tomaro, avocado and goats cheese, and my friend went for the mozarella salad (the only veggie option on the salad menu). The other menu options consisted of fish and meat (which had one fish - salmon and a lot of steaks), pasta, and pizzas. We then waited a further half an hour for our main courses (salad! cold!). Mine arrived corrcetly but the waitress had mixed up the order for the second salad and bought a tuna one over, i think my flatmate would have been happy to eat that one had it not looked utterly disgusting - like a tin of tuna emptied over some lettuce. Eventually we were bought the correct salads and I sampled mine. I have to say it was the most uninspiring restaurant salad I have ever eaten - I could have made better at home. The tomatoes were cheap, cold and tasteless like supermarket value ones, the dressing was french and drenched the salad (a nice balsamic would have been much better), the leaves tasted unwashed - the only redeeming feature of mine was the avocado which was perfect, not too soft and not too hard. My flatmate confessed she felt the same about hers. At just over £5 for a salad you don't expect a huge amount but I would expect something I would eat in a restaurant to be good qualoty - and this was not. I often choose the salads in Pizza Express and am much more impressed. This was a huge let down. By the time our plates were collected it was half past three and we had to wait so long for the waitress to attend to us (by now there were only three other tables in the place occupied), that we abandoned our dessert idea and left. The bill came to £22 for two courses each with no drinks except tap water -which is cheap, but to be honest I wouldn't pay that again for that meal. It was probably one of the worst meals I have had out recently, a poor vegetarian selection, hopeless salads, slow service..there was nothing to encourage me to return. Overall a disappointing experience.
Bertorelli's has two branches, one being on Floral Street in Covent Garden which is the one I have visited. It is not a cheap resteraunt by any means however everytime I have been there the sevice and food have been well worth the money - especially for a treat or a special occassion such as a birthday or Valentine's day. The food on the menu is in an Itlaian theme, and features such delights as asparagus ravioli and duck canelloni (the asparagus ravioli is my favourite and I would give anything for that dish!). Most of the food on the menu is quite rich, so it's not the place to go for a light meal, however, whenever I have been there I have not left with that horrible feeling of being too full where you alsmost feel ill, even though I have always had three courses there. Probably because their food isn't full of rubbish. They also have a really good selection of wines, even the cheaper one are good quality. They do a set menu on occassions such as Valentine's day however we have always gone for the normal menu as it works out a bit cheaper at about £40 a head or perhaps less, and also, I have to have my favourites from the menu! The set menus are normally around £45. I have always found the service to be exemplary - the waiting staff really do know their job and they can't do enough for you. They obviously take notice of their customers as one waiter even remembered where we had sat for Valentine's day the year before! It made the service feel really personal, not like some waiters or waitresses who just plonk your meal down without worrying about anything except going home at then end of the night. The staff seem to really enjoy the job and often stop and have a chat with you. Overall I think it's a resteraunt for a special occassion or every now and again rather than just a quick eat out purely because of the price, but trust me once you tast the food you won't worry about the bill as it's just so divine!
Bertorelli's has an upstairs restaurant and a downstairs one, the upstairs being more expensive. It's nice for that special occasion, but generally downstairs is just as good, at more reasonable prices! Food is very good italian, pastas, great fish,fishcakes.There are two branches, one on Charlotte St and one in Covent Garden; the former starred in Gthe wyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors as the bar she drank in. Bertorellis isn't the cheapest night out, so save it for something special rather than off the cuff eating, but it's worth it occasionally as the food is great. It can get very busy though so at weekends, especially in summer, it's best to book.