More Cheese, Please!

A puny pizza at Villagio gives our reviewer the bus station blues

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Villagio Hammersmith

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Searching for a sustaining supper on a chilly Tuesday night in January, we found that none of the local joints was exactly jumping. But Villagio seemed quieter than most, with just one couple sitting inside.

Outside though, was a board with the tempting promise of a Two4One offer on main courses, so we decided to give it a try. This led to the evening’s first disappointment, when the waiter explained the offer was not available on this first visit. Instead the deal was that we could pick up a voucher to use on a second trip.

The second, much bigger let down was my unappetising vegetarian pizza (£7.95) which had a hard, dry, crunchy base with the merest scraping of tomato and mozzarella strewn with barely cooked mushrooms - not exactly the yummy, cheesy, melty comfort food I was hoping for.

My companion’s Melanzane Parmigiana with Ciabatta (£9.25) proved a better choice, properly gooey and tomatoey, and we polished it off between us, along with an adequate but uninspired side salad (£3.50).

We washed the food down with a bottle of San Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water (£3.95) and two glasses of very drinkable chilled Via Nova Pino Grigio at £4.50 each.

By the time we had finished our main courses, it was 10.45pm and we were alone in the restaurant. Neither of us wanted dessert, and when I asked for coffee the waiter told me he could make me one if I wanted, but it would not taste very nice as he had cleaned the machine.

It was a novel excuse for not doing his job, but it did leave us rather concerned for the next person to order an expresso.

The menu does offer other hot drinks - hot chocolate and a variety of teas - but these were not offered, so instead we ordered two more glasses of Pino Grigio and, as always happens when you try to be abstemious, lamented not having just bought a bottle (at £17.95) in the first place.

When the bill for our not exactly sumptuous meal came along, it was £44, and when we offered to add service, the waiter very smartly calculated that with 15% it would come to just over £50.

Villagio, which is part of a small chain of Italian restaurants looks stylish and is in a handy position opposite the bus station at 206 -208 Hammersmith Road, previously the home of the much missed Bianco Nero. But on this showing, it will have to raise its game before we consider making a return visit, two for one deal or no deal.

Sheila Prophet

January 27, 2012