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What's the big fuss?
Member Name: amazinglo
Date: 04/09/09, updated on 04/09/09 (60 review reads)
Advantages: Pleasant ambience, good service, wide choice
Disadvantages: Mediocre food, overpriced
I've never understood the fascination with Strada. And I *love* Italian food. I'd visited a couple of the restaurants before: one in Leamington Spa and one in Richmond. But sadly my experience had been of bland, under seasoned food at high prices.
However, I tried to give the chain another chance when wandering the streets with a friend in Covent Garden. I knew she loved it so I suggested we ate there. It was a Tuesday evening, about 7.30 pm and very busy. We waited for 10 minutes and were then seated in a very peculiar offside room which was a bit dark and dingy, but very private and good for conversation and we weren't going to complain, they'd clearly made an effort to find us a table.
We ordered a bottle of the house white between us which was surprisingly pleasant and well priced at £12.99 a bottle. We then perused the menu: a mix of classic Italian main courses, risottos, pastas and pizzas. The dishes all sounded appetizing, if slightly simple; the sort of stuff you could knock up at home in ten minutes after reading 'Jamies' Italy'.
My friend eventually opted for a Fiorentina and I, a pasta dish with blue cheese and parma ham, at the waiter's recommendation.
The service was quick and impressive albeit slightly rushed, although hey, they're not going to hang about chatting when they're that busy.
The food arrived quickly and my friend seemed to enjoy her pizza. My pasta, I'm sad to say it, was very bland and lacked seasoning, while the pasta was so 'al dente' I could feel it sliding down the back of my throat - not nice! The dish tasted very much like macaroni cheese and there was no hint of blue cheese at all. There were a few thin strips of parma ham scattered on top, but not enough to balance the cheesiness of the sauce.
The price of the meal came to around £34 for two and although that may not sound much, I couldn't help but think of what a lovely meal we could have prepared at home for that much!
Although, I must admit that the restaurant had a wonderful ambience and I can imagine it would be an enjoyable place to spend the evening with friends.
However, I can't help but think the standard of the food isn't up to scratch and I won't be hurrying back!
Summary: I won't be coming back!