All reader reviews by Fred

San Carlo

This is a restaurant of monumental dreadfulness. We went last night and had a meal memorable for its sheer, gut-wrenching, awfulness. It wasn't entirely without redeeming features - but it was close - and it was very expensive. We both ordered salads to start with; the leaves were limp, the main ingredients (tuna in one case, cheese in the other) were of a very low standard and one of the salads came completely undressed, the only acoutrement being some cheap oil and vinegar that was plonked on the table. The mains were worse. My lasagne actually had quite a nice pasta and tomato sauce but was spolied by extremely low quality beef (if indeed it was beef at all). The net effect was unpleasant and lingering. My girlfriend's fillet steak however was the piece de resistance, if we're using an inverted scale where the heights are dominated by sheer awfulness. There was, to be fair, a lot of it. But it soon became apparent that this was more of a curse than a blessing. Ordered medium rare, it came somewhere between medium and well-done. Not a crime but annoying. Especially when you're paying £20 for a steak at an undistinguished restaurant somewere in zone 3. But far worse was the flavour of the meat. It was bland, liverish and slightly bitter. It takes a lot to make a steak truly unpleasant - but this was truly unpleasant. Truly. The wine was ok, perfectly drinkable. And the dessert was fine too. They also do a nice fresh mint tea. Service was mixed; one of the waiters was decidedly unhelpful but most of his colleagues were fine. The decor was not bad at all but the atmosphere was spoiled by large tables that made it hard to communicate with our relatively small party of 5, and made worse by a raucous office christmas party nearby. But all of this is immaterial. Even if the waiters had been trained butlers, the wine had been Petrus 1995, the atmosphere had been quieter and the prices lower this still would have been a disgraceful meal. The fact that restaurants can serve this muck, and be full, should upset anyone who cares - even a bit - about food.

Thursday, November 29, 2007
Overall rating 3 stars
Food 2 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 1

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