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Caldesi leaves me cold
Member Name: mgoldman
Date: 20/09/04, updated on 10/05/05 (353 review reads)
Advantages: Tuscan, Quiet, Food is mostly ok
Disadvantages: Expensive, Slapdash service
This was my second visit to Caldesi. Caldesi sits at the Wigmore Street end of Marylebone Lane, and if you did not know what you were looking for, you would never notice or find it. As suggested in previous reviews, it is Tuscan in outlook, and was chosen by our friends who are very keen on spending weeks in deserted villas in Tuscany, and one is a vegetarian.
Our last visit was impressive, with excellent food. Whilst my dining companions has no expressions of regret on this occasion, I was sufficiently disappointed to consider finding somewhere else if the suggestion is made to go there again.
The restaurant is small, and feels Italian. There is no garish decor, and tables are simple. It is small with, say, 40 covers, but I was surprised that on a Saturday night in central London, with plenty of tourists around it was not full – about 25% of tables empty during the evening.
I had to eat a pasta with duck ragout starter, followed by rib eye steak in a reduced caramelized vinegar sauce, and desert of three chocolate puddings (mouse, tart and ice cream). My wife had squid starter, duck and pannacotta.
Service was slack, and despite the fact that we were not in a hurry to go, there were long lapses between orders and delivery. In fact our initial drink order had to be given twice as they seemed to have forgotten. My main course was served luke warm (???? The way it might come in Tuscany, but does not hit the spot for an Autumn evening in London). The ragout was very heavy on tomato, and had I not known it was duck, I might never have guessed. However the desserts were wonderful.
Drink is expensive, and prosecco was £7 per flute, and my Bellini was £8. Wines were correspondingly expensive, but good. Whist the service was slow in delivering, it was quick on the retrieving, and our bottles of wine and water were removed before finished. I believe that service (especially when it is forcibly added to the bill) should be anticipatory of the customers’ needs, and not those of the restaurant. Coffee was expensive, in small cups and not refilled.
The bill for a three course meal including coffee and drinks came to £117 per couple. This was deemed by all to be expensive for what was being offered.
Quite frankly the Caldesi has lost its edge, treated us – the customer, with indifference, and charged a lot for it.