Oh dear, oh dear. Words practically fail me. Where to start? I know, Tripadvisor giving over 200 terrific ratings for Valentino’s, a charming looking if a little antiquated Italian restaurant, run by a couple who made us feel so very welcome and bent over backwards to make our meal a pleasing experience.
It is with a heavy heart, however, that I am astounded and bewildered by the response on Trip Advisor, (with a certificate of ‘excellence’ to boot) based on a pretty awful meal that left myself and my dining companion heading for the prozac.
To be fair, not everything was a titanic failure. The wine, a Greco di Tufo (£24.50) was a very pleasant drop indeed, as was the bread and dipping oil and vinegar. The accompanying vegetables with my steak were rather good too, especially the saute potatoes.
That’s where it ends I’m afraid. The starters of stuffed mushrooms ( £6.25) and mussels aribiata (£7.75) looked good enough and the portions were generous. I’m afraid I couldn’t really determine what was inside the grey, low quality, watery mushrooms (for heaven’s sake) but it was as if a child had thrown together anything they clapped eyes on in the kitchen and bunged it in. It was just nasty. The mussels themselves were plump and nicely cooked but the sauce was bland and had no hint of chilli whatsoever.
The mains of steak Diane (£17.25) and lasagna (£8.95) followed and did nothing to allay the gloom. The steak was stranded in a thick pool of what tasted like a gloopy bechamel with some peppercorns thrown into it and you had to play detective to find the meat in the lasagna, the sauce of which was as insipid as a Donald Trump quote.
It gives me no pleasure to trash a place, especially when the hosts are such nice people. They’re obviously doing well; the restaurant is closed until 18th August and the couple are going for a long cruise. I don’t get it. I never will. This is the weariest I have felt leaving a place since reviewing The Mason’s Arms in Kensal Rise. Now that IS depressing.
266 Watford Way
London NW4 4UJ
0208 203 1164