Fratelli’s, Bond Street: Review

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I think my meal at Fratelli’s was without a doubt the most bizarre – and, sadly, the least enjoyable – of all of the meals I’ve had from deals site vouchers so far. Armed with our KGB Deals vouchers entitling us to three courses for just £9 each, we ventured down there this week for a relaxed Friday night meal…

Previously a branch of Italian restaurant chain Bottelino’s, the Bond Street venue was renamed and reopened by the grandson of the chain’s founder, Giuseppe Botta. Both the branding and the menus are very different to the original Bottelino’s – you wouldn’t have thought that the two were related.

Over a large glass of rosé for me (£5.70) and a bottle of Peroni for him (£3.50), we turned to the menu to make our starter and main course choices.

The selection of starters is fairly limited, and we both ended up choosing the Portobello Funghi (normally £5): a flat mushroom topped with blue cheese and garlic, served with a rocket, spinach and cherry tomato salad and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

An interesting plate of food. The mushroom was cooked well, and the blue cheese was delicious, but it seemed as though the mushroom hadn’t been properly drained of water after cooking and so the whole thing was a little soggy. It was also a shame that they had decided to sprinkle dried herbs fairly liberally over our plates – far too overpowering, in our opinion.

Onto the mains…for my dining partner, the Risotto Con Pollo (normally £12), a large bowl of risotto topped with a sliced chicken breast and asparagus spears. ‘Quite bland’, was his opinion of his main, and sadly mine wasn’t any better.

I had chosen the Linguine Al Cartoccio (also priced at £12) as it sounded a little different. Described on the menu as a ‘seafood and shellfish medley served with a contemporary twist ‘al Cartoccio’ style – steam-baked and paper wrapped’, it arrived at the table in a singed paper and string wrapping, topped with a slice of lemon and a king prawn…

I didn’t think it looked particularly appealing when I opened up the paper. The linguine was cooked well, but the ‘seafood and shellfish medley’ turned out to be some mussels – which I ate – and some prawns which I left, as they were overcooked and very tough. This was served in a bland tomato sauce, with chunks of what appeared to be tinned plum tomatoes (and a whole one), with a few slices of onion and a solitary parsley leaf.

I managed to eat maybe a third of my main before I gave up. It surprised me slightly that the waiter didn’t ask our opinion on the food or why I’d left most of mine when he cleared our plates. If I’d have been paying full price for the meal, then I’d have definitely sent it back.

It all got a bit bizarre at this point. It seems that the spoons that had been set at the table before we arrived were for our desserts: I’d used mine for my linguine, so it was cleared away. My dining companion hadn’t used his spoon but our waiter still stacked it onto his empty plate when clearing the table…then returned it to the table with an exclamation of ‘oh, actually, you’ll need that for your dessert!’ He then tried to take the beer bottle, until it was pointed out that it wasn’t actually empty…and so, obviously not wanting to leave our table empty-handed, he settled for taking one of the water glasses, despite the fact that we still had water left in the jug.

Onto dessert, which was a choice of three reeled off by our waiter: ice cream, a waffle with ice cream, or an affogato (essentially espresso, Amaretto…and yes, ice cream). We ordered a waffle for me, an affogato for him, and off the waiter went…to fetch a jug of water which he then took outside, explaining that someone had broken down and he was helping them out. Odd.

Eventually our desserts turned up and were set down in front of us, with our waiter telling me with a big grin on his face, ‘the chef’s put a surprise in your dessert!’ I obviously looked concerned, so the waiter reassured me that it was a nice surprise, in between the waffle and the ice cream on top.

I think he misjudged his audience slightly. If I were a five year old, I probably would have been delighted at the four gummy bear sweets hidden in the holes of the waffle. As it was, the combination of cheap vanilla ice cream and strings of green goo from the melting sweets did nothing for me. And the affogato – shots of espresso and Amaretto served in a wine glass, with a scoop of the very same ice cream sitting in paper and balanced on top of the glass (which, incidentally, included a straw) had pretty much the same effect.

After drinking our coffees, included in the voucher (a very weak cappuccino, in my case) we paid for our drinks and left. Having only paid £9 each for the vouchers we had a laugh about our experience, but I think we’d paid the £20-plus per head that the meal should have cost, we’d have definitely complained. I certainly won’t be going back.

Fratelli’s

Website: http://www.fratellis-restaurant.com

Telephone: 0117 926 8054

Address: 22 Bond Street, Bristol BS1 3LU

Find Fratelli’s on the Bristol Bites Directory…

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4 Responses to Fratelli’s, Bond Street: Review

  1. Hi! Great review their Bristol Bites. I went into that 'restaurant' today. Poor customer service, and my Nan unfortunately found a long hair in her food – it wasn't hers as it was well sunken into the middle of the plate. They did not bother to offer a refund like normal restaurants would. Plus, the first waitress who served us did not give us the bill – it was just simply thrown onto the table with the words "here's the bill". Rude staff. We shall not be dining there again.

  2. Having just discovered your blogsite, we read the original Fratelli review. We have not been for a few weeks but first went on a Groupon voucher. The staff were absolutely charming and the food was what we had expected for a small, family restaurant. It was more than acceptable and we returned a few weeks later to have a light meal and, again, we enjoyed what we had. It's not the best food in the world but then we had not expected it to be. The owner and waitress were delightful. The restaurant was quite buzzy and a young waiter that we know from another Bristol restaurant said that the pizzas were some of the best he had tasted in Bristol.

    Perhaps you have set yourself up as some kind of Foodie critic but I think you are just looking to be pickey. You have to balance your critique with the restaurant which you are reviewing and not expect the same ideals in every establishment.

    • Hi Yvonne, thanks for the comment.

      I wasn't expecting it to be the best food in the world either, but I wouldn't say I was being picky – I really was disappointed with our experience from the food down to the service. As you'll see from the comments on the copy of this review posted on the Bristol 24-7 website, it seems that people's experiences at Fratelli's range from very good to very bad, and it's just a shame that our evening erred on the very bad side.

      The pizzas that the table next to us ordered did look great, and I wish we'd ordered those! However, after the reaction from the restaurant owner on the review on 24-7, I don't think I'll be going back to try them out.

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