THIS WAS THE first time we had eaten out since the clocks changed and I must say the sunshine was most welcome as we strolled down Broughton Street towards Locanda De Gusti, optimistic the 2 AA Rosetted restaurant's food would shine as bright as the sun.
My experience of Italian food has been mixed. I fondly recall one of the best meals I’ve ever had whilst visiting Verona on my travels but, on the other hand remember one of the worst at an eatery in Fife.
Our sun-kissed table was rather isolated in a small but spacious corner of the dining room as I chose grilled scamorza cheese with rocket and honey (£5.95) from the pre-theatre menu, whilst Sarah opted for pan cooked mortadella with olive oil, garlic, cherry tomatoes, oregano and parsley (£6.95).
Clean and elegantly presented, I enjoyed the crisp crust and the rather piquant, creamy taste of the cheese. I felt it maybe could have been a little warmer to allow the melting qualities to be maximised but I polished it off none the less.
I couldn’t taste Sarah’s starter because our waitress informed me it contained nuts. This dish showed off an excellent product in the mortadella and was served in a pleasant sort of bisque but possibly could have done with some sort of added texture to add crunch.
I was impressed that the waitress didn’t have to consult with the kitchen about the nut content of the dish I must say. That sort of knowledge is something I find lacking in even some of the higher end restaurants, so bravo.
Satisfied from my starter, I reminisced about that meal in Verona as my main course of ‘Roman street-style’ roast pork (£13.95) arrived with my sides of roast potatoes and ratatouille (we both ordered this side at £1.60).
I have to say the pork was outstanding. The simple presentation allowed the quality of the produce to stand out, while the side dishes were well-seasoned but the potatoes slightly underdone and lacked the crust of a good roast potato.
Sarah ordered pan cooked sea bass with olive oil, garlic, white wine, diced courgette, butternut squash and parsley (£10.95).
I’d have said it was more than likely the bass was cooked en papillote rather than pan fried because the skin didn’t seem like it had seen the direct heat from a pan and it was a tad flimsier than you’d expect. However, it was succulent and a perfectly cook piece of fish with a rich and flavoursome sauce.
Sarah didn’t feel the side dishes available quite complimented her dish.
Although we hadn’t intended on having dessert, we were persuaded by what was on offer and I opted for banana bread coated with chocolate fudge (£4.95).
However, I found it a little dry and not overly packed with banana flavour. Interestingly enough I overheard the table behind order the same pudding, only to be told there was none left; that would explain the dryness then.
Sarah had pear and chocolate tart (£4.95) which had a silky, rich filling but again wasn’t overly moist and the strawberry sauce didn’t really pair well with the pear.
Highs and lows here; excellent service and some top produce on show but the desserts weren’t up to scratch for me. For a restaurant boasting two AA Rosettes, I'd expect a little better. Six of of 10.
7-11 East London Street, Edinburgh EH7 4BN
0131 558 9581