|Cod fillet, shrimps and a mountain of potatoes|
It takes me ages to order (plus we were driving from London) so to save everyone some time, I went on the website to choose my grub and... overwhelmed is not the word! They weren't kidding when they said they offered a 'wide-ranging menu'. I also checked what (else) they had in store and that's when warning signs went a-flashing. Surely any Italian restaurant (or any restaurant) that hosts Elvis nights, cheesy hen dos and a basement club must be avoided right? Right. Or if you have to have to go, you shouldn’t really expect your grub to be as special as the barmen’s striptease right? Right. However we were going to be in Brighton after all. The holy mecca of all things flamboyant in the UK. So it's okay, right? Right. *gulp*
We got there in good time for a Friday night and, despite the website saga, in good spirit (I think Brighton does that to you anyway). The restaurant looked cozy enough, but it didn't have that 'people come here for food' vibe. We were immediately sat by the table closest to the door - where people can observe us talk, drink and eat while waiting to be seated - despite asking for a cozy table upstairs. Ho-hum. Interesting. Anyway. Let's talk food.
We decided on the pate al brandy (£3.95), calamari fritti (£5.25) and gamberoni all'orientale (£7.25) for starters. The prawn came with a sweet chilli dip... which wasn't really Italian but at this point I thought nothing about Al Duomo can shock me anymore until...
|wrapped butter on the plate!|
|Calamari & Gamberoni... al fritti!|
We got served our mains and again, the plating was... quite rubbish. Take a look:
|Filetto Rossini, £18.50|
|Tagliatelle Imperiale, £9.50|
|Pesce Spada alla Griglia £13.95|
Now without any bias let me present the star of the main course segment, garnering a whole hour's worth of deciding points:
|Merluzzo al Gamberetti, £10.95|
We all had gelato in the end. I had coconut and pistachio. All I can say is YUM. Nevermind that it was presented ice-cream parlour style, complete with a wafer stick. Nevermind that it was freezing outside (and from where we were sat because again, we were by the door)
If there was a word to describe the Al Duomo experience, it would be... overwhelming. The food was actually quite decent. They know how to pack their dishes with flavour and they know how to cook their ingredients well. I'd actually go back to try more of the extensive menu. Saying that, I think they need to refine their plating a wee bit more. Not expecting absolute sophistication but perhaps just enough so that the food may actually appear to be why people go there instead of all the gimmicky cheese. Because seriously there's good food there! But then again, perhaps people who go would actually rather stare at fake Elvis than at their plates..
Al Duomo Italian Restaurant
7 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, BN1 1EE