It came as no surprise to read that Alberto’s has been in business for nearly 30 years. There’s certainly a sense of it being from that time period – the decor is uninspiring, the menu a little dated, the service style a little old-fashioned.
As for the food, starters were not great. Bruschetta was like no bruschetta we’ve been served before. Yes, there was toasted bread. And, yes, there was chopped tomato, onion and basil. But then everything had been covered with cheese and put under the salamander. It was like the pre-prepared frozen “French bread pizza” that we used to get in the UK many years ago. And it was served slightly warm. Not hot as though it has just been cooked, but an odd slightly warmer than room temperature.
The other starter was seafood ravioli. Four large ravioli, well cooked to al dente. But the filling of lobster and scallop was underflavoured and underseasoned. And the saffron cream sauce was thick and gloopy – it started to from a skin in the time it took to eat.
Main courses were far, far, better. A pork chop was big enough to feed a small army and had good flavour (which would have been even better if it had had a rim of fat). It came with “vinegar peppers” which I hadn’t come across before and which were really good. I don’t know how they are prepared (or if they’re a bought-in product) but the vinegar cuts through the richness of the pork (and would have been ideal if the pork had had the added richness of fat). Alongside, roasted potatoes, garlic cloves, courgette and sweet potato. Lovel plate of unfussy tasty food.
Across the table, beef tenderloin had been accurately cooked as requested but was underflavoured for our tastes (we happily confess to not being great fans of much the American beef we’ve come across on our various trips). There was the same roasted courgette and sweet potato as well as oven roasted shallots. And a very nice light pinot noir based sauce. Certainly a well thought out dish which ticked most of the boxes.