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.
Telephone: 0117 926 8054
Address: 22 Bond Street, Bristol BS1 3LU
Find Fratelli’s on the Bristol Bites Directory…