Review of 'Valentina'

Every day on the bus I pass by Valentina and always wanted to give it a try. We had previously visited their small deli to pick up some cheese but had never eaten there so when the opportunity came up…

The small restaurant is located up some stairs around the back of the deli cases. With only 10 or 12 tables it is quite tiny and decorated quite simply. We had a table at the top of the stairs looking out over the rest of the deli. The menu is quite small split in ways you might expect for an Italian restaurant including a small selection of pizzas and another with pasta.

I started with the “fritto misto” (fried seafood, £6.95) which was a bed of rocket with some fried calamari rings (that were cooked a slight bit too long so were verging on rubbery and also lacking any sort of seasoning so were tastelss), and all topped with a single prawn in it's shell (which was also slightly overcooked). One of my companions selected for a starter the “pane” (£3.75) - two different kinds of breads and some thin (tasty) bread sticks served with, of course, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

For my main, I had the “Orechhiette” (£10.25) which was “ear-shaped” pasta with a light tomato and red pepper sauce with Tuscan fennel sausage. The pasta was cooked correctly (slightly under) and the sauce was very light with the only spark of real flavour from the few pieces of sausage. Definitely needed the offered Parmesan cheese. It was a fairly small portion particularly in light of what my companions both ordered - the “Capella Romana” (£13.75) which was an enormous ball of pasta and meatballs wrapped in Speck ham - If you know the size of an American soft ball (used in baseball) that is about right, otherwise, think a VERY large grapefruit. Neither of my companions could finish this and we will have it for left-overs at home for the next few days…To top it all off, this was mild flavoured as well (though I am told the meatballs were very nice).

At this point, we could not eat anything further so our meal was slightly cut short.

Often in the meal we had trouble getting ahold of the waiting staff who forgot several things we ordered (including a round of drinks - I was on the hard stuff, sparkling mineral water at £2.35 for a half litre). They tended to either be talking amongst themselves or no where to be seen.

I SO wanted to like this smaller Italian restaurant. I SO wanted it to be a nice, cozy place serving tasty food with pleasant staff. I was SO disappointed on nearly all of these points (it WAS, er, reasonably cozy). It was relatively speaking quite cheap with each of our portions of the bill coming to just over £20…

We might give Valentina a second chance (here or in any of their other locations) but, to be honest, there are loads of other places I would want to try first…no matter which location it is.

Sigh.

Rating:

Review Date: 2015-03-16


Cuisine: Italian

Address: 145 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3LB ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Notting Hill Gate

Location: London (England) - Notting Hill

Map:

 

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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7702 1181

URL: http://www.valentinafinefoods.com/restaurants/notting-hill/