Every restaurant has an off-night, and I’m really disappointed that say that Amalfi’s on Frome Road isn’t immune to this.
Let me explain. I went on a busy Friday night (booking for 12 made 5 days in advance) with some work friends. Everyone ordered pretty much straight away, food was cooked in the open kitchen and everything was brought out unceremoniously. Only they brought me a Marinara pizza when I specifically ordered the Americano. I was offered two choices – take the Marinara, or wait 8 minutes for the Americano.
I made the mistake of waiting – which by the way, ended up being a wait of 15 mins, not 8. Not once was I offered complimentary bread or drinks, despite the waitress being aware that we were not sharing our meals. Not to mention, how does Americano sound even remotely similar to Marinara? And yes, I’m sure I said the right thing. I hate pronouncing Marinara (I always say “Marina” instead of “Ma-ri-ana”) so I avoid ordering it.
During this time, everyone else received their food and was happily devouring it. The Ragu pasta across from me looked and smelled amazing.
I was told that the pasta was cooked al dente (the way I like it), although most people at the table (which included 4 Italians) thought it was just a bit too undercooked. Each to their own, I guess.
One of the girls next to me let me steal a slice of her Cardinale pizza (bocconcini, tomato, Parmesan, basil, mushroom, prosciutto and pepper) which was very nice of her and tasted delicious (at this stage, I could have just been hungry though). The prosciutto and mushroom combination was really well balanced in terms of flavour and texture, and there was just the right amount of cheese.
I love the thick crusty base of the pizzas at Amalfi’s and as it’s always accompanied by a heavy array of toppings, I always leave satisfied and happy. Well, almost always.
When my Americano (tomato, bocconcini, cacciatore, salami, chilli and basil) came out, the waitress pretty much slammed it on the table with so much force that the pizza moved sideways on the plate. I’ve documented this just for your viewing pleasure.
Not only that, the pizza base was about half the usual Amalfi thickness and was extremely oily. Also, there was about half the toppings – I had one piece with only one piece of salami, a 10 cent coin worth of cheese and a sprinkle of basil stems. Totally substandard pizza. And a waste of stomach space.
So the lesson here, my friends, is to take what you are given*. I’m not very good at this because when I have my heart set on something, that’s all I want. But I may have to make an exception just for Amalfi’s because life’s too short for bad meals. The food (when no mistake is made) has always been fantastic, the textures and flavours really satisfying and servings more than generous.
Despite my experience this particular night, I will be back because the food is just too good not to. But I will be shopping for a new Italian favourite in the meantime though.
I’m not even going to comment on service because that’s a can of worms I would rather leave for next time (or never, because once I start, I won’t stop!)
*unless you’re allergic to what they bring out. In that case, you’re screwed. Most of the time, orders will be confirmed, but our waitress was probably too lazy to do that with such a big group and I assumed she was experienced enough to not need to confirm.