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Il Vaporetto SW1
An expensive Belgravia Italian on the former site of Mimmo d'Ischia (RIP); the design (by Joseph, of boutique and brasserie fame) is smart enough, but the operation is wreathed in complacency.
OK. Our lunch guest was already half an hour late when we decided to go ahead and order our lunch at this smart new Belgravia Italian. That's not the restaurant's fault. The fact that a 'quick' starter - calamari - took another half hour is. 'The printer' - by implication, one that conveys orders to the kitchen - had broken down, apparently. So why had no one noticed? And promptly done something about it?
And why did the waitress not point out that the - as it turned out, overlarge - portion of calamari would if fact be half composed of deep-fried zucchini? It's quite relevant if the only vegetable you order to accompany your main course is' deep-fried zucchini.
When the calamari arrived, they were distinguished only by being hard and rather dry. The bland liver alla veneziana which followed was not dry, but was similarly totally lacking in distinction. If a 'Venetian' restaurant can't get those two staples right, what hope can there be for the rest of the menu? To be fair, the zucchini were good - but enough of those already! - and the bread and, in due course, coffee were pretty presentable too.
Our guest still not having arrived at 2pm we, as a matter of duty, ordered the tiramisu - one of only three puddings listed on the menu. Rather recalling those old jokes about pubs with no beer, it turned out that this was an Italian restaurant without tiramisu. Would we like ice cream instead? No we jolly well wouldn't.
This was not an establishment in its first week of operation, or still less one charging half price while things settle in: our impression was that this is a restaurant which thinks that its co-ownership - Joseph Ettegudi and the Santin family (of overpriced restaurant fame) - entitles it to a living. The preposterous bill, £52 - including two glasses of wine but no pudding - did nothing to disabuse us of this notion.
(Sorry there's no photograph. Won't be ready for a few weeks apparently. Wonder if they've got the tiramisu ready yet?)
61 Elizabeth St, London, SW1W 9PP
Last orders: 11 pm