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Tony Macaroni (Motherwell)

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Address: Tony Macaroni Motherwell, 352 Brandon Street, ML1 1AX

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      18.07.2012 14:45
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      a mixed bag..

      Tony Macaroni is a chain of Italian restaurants in Scotland. They currently have restaurants in Largs, Glasgow, Livingston, East Kilbride and Motherwell. I will be discussing our visit to the Motherwell restaurant.

      ~Location and Layout~

      Tony Macaroni
      352 Brandon Street
      Motherwell
      ML1 1AX
      01698 266272

      The restaurant is opened 12pm - 9.30pm (Sunday - Thursday) and 12pm - 10.30pm (Friday and Saturday). You can book a table online at www.tonymacaroni.co.uk.

      Tony Macaroni is located a 5 minute walk from Motherwell town centre. Various buses stop opposite the restaurant and whilst there is no onsite parking, there is a council (free) carpark nearby. The restaurant is just off the main road and sits alongside a lawyers office, a hairdressers and a tattoo shop.

      The exterior of the restaurant is inviting with large bay windows and promotional posters. Inside, there is plenty of space for wheelchairs to move around and the main part of the restaurant is set across the one level. They do have a function room upstairs for private parties and cater for such. There are various seating options within the restaurant including window seats, padded benches and high tables and chairs in the bar area. Towards the back of the restaurant, there are a lot of booths and they can accommodate various sized parties.

      The restaurant is quite stylish in decor with low level lighting complimenting the bare stone walls. The tables are dark brown and fairly old fashioned in appearance. Wooden panels hang down from the ceiling and feature various ornamental vases and replica food jars etc which gives the decor an interesting twist. There is a large television behind the bar and fairly quiet music played in the background but didn't interupt any discussions etc. The tables in the front seating area are quite close together so perhaps not ideal for a romantic meal. The restaurant is clean and neat throughout.

      The restaurant offers a disabled toilet and further along, toilets for male and females. The toilets are very modern, spacious and stylish as well as being essentially clean and well stocked. I was pleased with the fact that there was hand wash and hand lotion provided which is a nice touch. The ladies toilets featured a small television which appeared to be playing an Italian language disc - you learn something new even on the loo in here!

      ~Food On Offer~

      Tony Macaroni offer quite an extensive menu which mainly focuses on Italian food. The menu features the Italian name for each dish with an English description which is always helpful. Tony Macaroni claim to use the finest ingredients in their dishes which allow them to create authentic meals.

      There are a range of dining options on offer from this restaurant including al a carte (available all the time), Presto (12pm - 6.30pm midweek) and a Sunday Presto Menu. They also offer a take away service for pizza. The full menu can be viewed online so I will give a run down of some of the dishes on offer.

      ~Al a Carte~

      Dishes on offer include :

      *Starters from £3.75 to £11.95 - soup, platters including seafood, ribs, mussels in various sauces.
      *Salad £8.95 to £9.95
      *Bruschetta and Focaccia from £3.50 - £7.95 - various toppings including mozzarella and mushrooms. Parma ham and various toppings for the focaccia.
      *Pizza and burgers from £6.95 - lots of toppings on offer (approx 30). Chicken and regular burgers with chips.
      *Pasta from £6.95 to £9.95 - various variations including veal, chicken, prawns. Includes regular dishes such as lasagne and spaghetti.
      *Tapas 3 for £9.95 - includes tuna and beans, king prawns in parma ham and several other dishes.
      *Other dishes from £7.25 to £20.95 - ribs, chicken breast, veal escallopes, steak in sauce, various fish dishes. Sides are also available including fresh bread, salad, potatoes etc from £1.95.
      *Desserts from £5.25 to £14.95 - various sundaes (10 or so to choose from), fruit salad, ice cream, cheesecake, sorbet etc.
      *Drinks - Tony Macaroni offer an extensive drinks list including soft drinks (from £1.85), coffee (from £1.60), beer (from £3.15 a bottle) and lots of wine and cocktails (from £5.75).

      There are plenty of vegetarians options on the menu.

      ~Presto and Sunday Presto~

      The midweek Presto menu offers a wide range of dishes for just £4.95 (well £5.07 really). This menu includes 20 dishes such as lasagne, pork chops, pizza, burger, chicken in sauce. They also offer 4 vegetarians options including vegetable lasagne, two types of risotto and a salad. There is also a soup and sandwich offer on during the day priced at £5.95.

      A similar menu is on offer on the Sunday with a few exceptions. They also have a special Sunday deal where you can purchase 3 courses for £14.95

      ~Service~

      We visited on a Friday afternoon and the restaurant was fairly quiet. It is usually really busy and has been since it opened last year. The majority of the staff consisted of a few male, Italians and two females (who actually done most of the work as far as we could see). We were seated quickly and menus were brought over. Our drinks order was quick as were our starters.

      I wouldn't say that the staff were particularly friendly and they did spend most of the time chatting to each other (the male staff that is) over at the bar. I actually had to ask for the dessert menu and it took 10 minutes for one waiter to come back over to take our dessert order. I got the impression the staff couldn't really be bothered and that any diners were an inconvenience to them.

      The customer service from the front of restaurant staff leaves a lot to be desired and during our lunch, both couples next to us had to complain and were met with several waiters glaring at them! One couple quietly complained about a hair they had found in their food and the waiter made a big deal and was adamant it couldn't have came from the kitchen etc. He was quite rude. The other couple who arrived a bit later had to send a burger back to the kitchen as it was still pink in the middle and this wasn't appreciated by the staff.

      I suppose I am a little more critical of restaurants now that I do write reviews. I like good, friendly customer service and didn't feel like I received it at Tony Macaronis.

      ~Our Meal~

      We decided to dine here as it had been a much talked about restaurant since opening. It takes over the former Starka bar and night club which locals were not amused about closing as night life in Motherwell isn't exactly buzzing! Anyway, I dined for lunch with my fiance. We weren't exactly dressed for a fancy restaurant (work clothes and comfy trousers and trainers) but we fit in nicely! The menus are large and take a while to look through so we ordered two pints of Coca Cola whilst we looked. There is an extensive range of meals on offer to suit most tastes though I didn't notice a childrens menu and it isn't the sort of restaurant I would take my toddler son too. Older children would enjoy the pasta and pizza dishes I would imagine.

      We decided to order starters from the al a carte menu as we were quite hungry. My fiance opted for 'Funghi Fritti - breaded mushrooms stuffed with cheese, deep fried and served with garlic mayonnaise' priced at £5.95. He received a large portion of mushrooms with a serving of lettuce, onion etc. He enjoyed his starter and said the mushrooms were flavoursome and not too greasy. The garlic mayo was a big hit with him and perfect for dipping.

      For my starter, I struggled to decided between the 'Mozzarella Fritta - sticks of mozzarella cheese coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried, served with a spicy tomato dip' priced at £5.25. I plumped for the 'Ali di Pollo - chicken wings slowly cooked to perfection and covered in Tony Macaroni's barbeque sauce' for £5.25. I received six wings on the bone with a centre salad. The chicken was so tender and fell off the bone and there was plenty of it. The bbq sauce was very rich and possibly too rich for many palates. I loved it though - very smokey and slightly sticky. Aromatic and flavoursome - the salad was also fresh and plentiful. I enjoyed my starter.

      There is plenty of dishes on offer for main courses. We opted to order from the Presto section at £4.95 (£5.07 with additional charge noted on menu but not on the promotional poster). I feel the choices on this particular menu are sufficient but basic. If you want something a little more special then the al a carte menu may be more to your taste. Our main meals were served 10 minutes after our starter plates were cleared which gave us sufficient time to let our bellies settle!

      My fiance decided against his usual burger choice and went for something a little more adventurous (think he had a lucky escape with the burger anyway). He opted for 'Pollo funghi E Salvia - chicken breast in a creamy mushroom sauce with a hint of sage served with rice'. His meal arrived on a large platter type plate and looked plentiful. He received a small chicken breast which was well cooked and tender. The rice was fluffy and moist. The sauce was rich and creamy and complimented the chicken and rice. I tried it and found it to be tasty. My fiance enjoyed his meal and finished it with a satisfied hand on belly!

      We ordered some garlic bread which turned out to be toast with a faint sprinkle of garlic - it was slightly burn but was fine for mopping up excess sauce. Priced at £3.50, it was over priced and not particularly tasty. I went for a fairly safe meal option with 'lasagne al forno' which didn't come with any sides. I do feel a slice of garlic bread should be included as lasagne on its own isn't exactly brilliant.

      I can't say I was overly impressed with my dish. It arrived in an oven dish and was roasting hot. I wasn't happy that the serving dish was practically scorched around the outside and not from cooking it there and then - it looked sloppy. The lasagne was a little bland. I found it too heavy on tomato but not even flavoursome tomato sauce - just bland and boring. The pasta sheets were thick and soft but the dish lacked flavour. Even the meat didn't tasty well, meaty! The cheese topping was sparse. If I were to return, I wouldn't opt for this again as I have had better frozen lasanges from the supermarket!

      I was unsure whether to have dessert but I asked for the menu anyway. The dessert choice is really good and I noticed a few diners having the sundaes which looked good value for money. We decided to share a dessert and I immediately dismissed my usual sticky toffee pudding or cheesecake for something a bit different. The dessert I ordered doesn't appear to be mentioned on the website but it was a large platter with sweet bread sticks which had been fried and dusted with icing sugar. It was served with a chocolate dip and a 'toffee dip' and there was around 7 large, fried breadsticks so I had to share anyway! An unusual dish but one I enjoyed. The breadsticks themselves had a lovely texture but alone, weren't particularly flavoursome. The chocolate dip was too rich for my tastes but my fiance was happy to finish it off. I liked the 'toffee dip' which wasn't really toffee in my opinion. It was unusual but made me think of condensed milk with a hint of caramel but not as thick! I enjoyed our dessert and felt completely full up after my meal.

      ~Conclusion~

      We paid £35.00 for two starters, two mains, one dessert and two soft drinks which isn't too bad. I paid by debit card. Would I recommend? Well yes and no - the majority of our meal was tasty but nothing particularly special. The restaurant is nice enough and comfortable but I wasn't pleased with the quality of service from the male staff. We have sampled the take away pizza after my brother in law brought some to ours one evening and it was nice enough but I prefer Dominos!

      If you want a cheap bite to each midweek, the Presto menu will suit but evening dining may work out expensive. I would dine again but only if other options weren't available to me.

      4 stars is fair I think.

      Thanks for reading :)

      Originally posted on Ciao June 2012

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