Il Piatto, Harcourt Place
It had been a while since my last visit to Il Piatto and I was keen to see whether it had changed – both in terms of menu and interior.
I enjoyed my last visit so I was pleased to see that things were not wildly different – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it as they say.
But I’m pretty sure the menu has become more extensive.
I was impressed with the choice and the fact that it was more creative and interesting than your average Italian offering.
There were plenty of vegetarian options, which was great for me, and they went further than your usual bruschetta and salads.
We opted for pizette di melanzane e polenta, a £10 starter for two to share which consisted of bite-sized aubergine and polenta cakes topped with fresh spinach and mushrooms sauteed in red wine and garlic.
The starter was beautifully presented on a long wooden board. It does always raise a smile with me when restaurants dispense with plates in favour of slates, boards and other trendy serving vessels, but this did look pretty.
The mushroom topping was delicious but I did find the polenta very plain – it could have done with more seasoning.
We were spoiled for choice again with our mains, faced with a tempting array of pasta, pizza, risotto and gnocchi, along with meat, fish and salads.
I opted for gnocchi alla crema (£9.50), which had a creamy mushroom and spinach sauce.
My friend chose quatro stagioni pizza (£9) which was topped with artichokes, mushrooms, olives and parma ham.
We also ordered a mixed olive salad (£5) which featured olives, obviously, along with avocado, rocket, onion and goat’s cheese.
The food was again beautifully presented and the portion sizes were really generous.
I was unsure whether we’d make our way through it all but it was so tasty I didn’t want to leave a morsel. The gnocchi was comfort food at its best and I’m told the pizza was crisp, light and full of flavour.
The restaurant was quiet during our midweek visit, but there was still a warm, relaxing atmosphere and we felt that we could linger over our meal without feeling rushed.
We really enjoyed our mains and were feeling pretty full, but I wanted to see if the desserts were up to the same standard as the previous courses.
I wasn’t disappointed. Though the choice of desserts wasn’t huge, it was enough.
We shared tiramisu, which came with a scoop of quality caramel ice cream.
It was spot-on and a lovely end to a thoroughly enjoyable meal.
And to top it off, we realised we’d visited in during ‘early bird’ hours (5.30pm to 7pm) with pizza and pasta for £5.95. So it was a bargain as well! La vita è bella – we’ll be back.