Comparisions are odious, so the old saying goes. But this was our fourth and final Venice dinner. And the first three had been really good. And I mean, really good. And this one just wasn’t. Perhaps if it had been our first meal, we might have thought different. But it wasn’t. And we didn’t. Comparisions, eh?
White polenta features heavily on the fairly extensive menu. It cropped up on both starters. First in an underseasoned wet form on which were scattered a generous portion of very fresh, very sweet prawns. It also appeared in the “set and fried” version accompanying a small fillet of sole, with the classic Venetian “saor” sauce. This is mainly onions in a sweet, yet vinegary, sauce, spiked with capers. It usually appears with sardines where the assertive flavour of the fish will stand up to the dressing. But the more delicate sole was overwhelmed by it.
I’m a big fan of “fegato alla Veneziana” and will often order it at home if it’s on a menu. As might be expected on its home turf, this was a good version. Small squares of very lightly cooked calves liver; the long cooked onions almost meting away to form the sauce. More fried polenta as a carb.
Beef fillet wasn’t the best piece of meat ever encountered. Now I know you don’t expect fillet to have as much taste as other cuts but this was very underwhelming and, indeed, a bit scaggy in parts. The red wine sauce was almost non-existant but the topping of finely diced caponata vegetables was a cracking idea.
Contorni were €7 each which doesn’t sound a great bargain and, when you see you’re only getting two artichoke hearts, you know it’s not a bargain.
Also not a bargain was the €20 glass of Merlot. Perhaps that’s why the waiter came back to point out the price to my wife. Or perhaps, she didn’t look the sort who would order a €20 glass. In any event, she was somewhat affronted by his attitude whatever the reasoning. My advice to the restaurant is that, if you don’t think customers know what they have ordered then don’t put these items on your freaking menu.
We decided not to have dessert but did have espresso. It was OK but no more than that.
One final point of interest to us was to see on the menu Welsh lamb and that Halen Mon was the kitchen’s salt of choice. It seemed odd to see produce from an hour’s drive from home on a menu on the other side of Europe.