Fiore D’Olivo

I met up with a friend last night; we wanted to go somewhere we could have a good old natter, nice food and not break the bank. I recently received a one month free trial of tastelondon (now called tastecard) so went on their website to find out where we should eat. http://www.tastecard.co.uk/ All you have to do is type in an area or post code. One of the first on the list was this Sardinian restaurant Fiore D’Olivo. So I clicked on the website and had a gander at the menu. Looked like good honest Italian food, mostly pizza because they had a wood fired oven. I was sold and booked a table (mentioning my tastecard whereby you get 50% off).

On arriving I realised we really didn’t need to book a table as there were only three others inside. This didn’t bother me though. It looked nice, tables were fairly close to each other which if it was full I can imagine being very intrusive. As it was we felt we had to whisper somewhat as everyone could hear our conversation, which we found very uncomfortable. You can see the kitchen from the seating area, you have the pizza man, standing and waiting for his pizza orders, and then a number of other people, not sure if they were the management, overseeing the catering, but they were not dressed in whites. From what we could see the kitchen was small. After looking at the menu I decided to resist the pizza and try three different starters. I asked forMelanzane alla parmigiana, Carpaccio di manzo con rucola e parmigiano (Beef carpaccio with rocket salad & parmesan cheese) and Calamari fritti.

We then waited around 45 minutes till our starter of  Melanzane alla parmigiana arrived. I can tell you I was absolutely starving at this point. When it arrived, piping hot straight out the wood fired oven, it looked fantastic and the combination of tomatoes, cheese and garlic smelt divine. It was covered in melted mozzarella. I could not wait to dig in. It was stunning, layers of fried aubergine, a beautiful tomato sauce and cheese. They even put a few strips of courgette which although not traditional (and not on the menu), worked nicely. It added a different dimension and a slight crunch to the dish. It was heavenly, however about 5 mouthfuls in the waitress approached our table to tell me they had no more Beef carpaccio. I was slightly dumbfounded. She asked if I would like to order something else, I could see I would be quite full after the Melanzane  so I chose a simpleBuffalo mozzarella, tomato salad, basil & pesto. At this point I thought, something’s not right here, either the kitchen is not communicating with the front of house staff, or they are not looking at the whole order.

As starters go I was pretty full already, but I was happy; it was a great dish.  We then had to wait 45 minutes for the next course to arrive, though there were only three other customers in the restaurant. A few people came in and ordered pizza to take away, but the service was far too slow. I shudder to think how they would cope with a full restaurant. On the one hand I feel for them, they must be a smallish family run business, working from scratch, making everything to order, which is fantastic. But if you can’t handle it time-wise something is going wrong. In all the waiting time between meals the waitress didn’t notice that my glass of tap water had been empty for a while and I had to ask for it to be refilled. After another long wait the Calamari and Mozzarella salad arrived. It was a generous portion of calamari served with a kind of tartare sauce. They were cooked perfectly, soft and melting in the mouth with the slight crunch of breadcrumbs on the outside. Not rubbery or chewy at all. The mozzarella salad, however, left much to be desired. The presentation was unimaginative, and dare I say it, I do not believe it was buffalo mozzarella. It was too firm, didn’t tear apart or melt in the mouth like buffalo mozzarella should.

We paid up with our 50% off and left. And I’m in split minds. Usually with a service like that, I would be really happy to rate lowly out of ten, but for some reason I feel sorry for them. However,if I was on a bad first date, with not much to say, and it took 45 minutes between each course, I would be a very unhappy person. So I’m going to have to mark them, all things considered, the wonderful food but waiting time imbalance, a 5 1/2 out of 10. I can’t say I would go back, but if I did, it would be for the food, or maybe a take away pizza 🙂

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