Travel back in time to the 1970s
Business lunches can be pot luck in terms of quality since the decision of where to dine is often out of your hands. This was how I ended up at Trattoria Mondello on Goodge Street. I didn’t know quite what to expect, so I was surprised by the retro decor. The rather chilly dining room had been made up to look like a rustic cottage and the walls were festooned with all sorts of kitsch Italian knick knacks.
Even more worrying was the large, unfocussed menu which instantly gave me cause for concern. The friendly and efficient service couldn’t be faulted though.
I started off with the polpo alla siciliana – octopus in a garlic, tomato, parsley, chilli and white wine sauce. I was woefully unimpressed by the overcooked bits of octopus which was far too soft and hadn’t taken on any of the sauce’s flavour. Not that the bland watery sauce had much flavour beyond parsley – there was hardly any garlic or chilli as far as I could taste. Astonishingly poor.
Just as bad was the spaghetti lobster served in a tomato, onion, brandy and chilli sauce. Despite that impressive list of ingredients, the watery sauce was bland with only a hint of booze suggesting any sort of flavour. The half of lobster was cooked surprisingly inconsistently – some pieces such as the claw were too tough and chewy, while others were far too soft and squishy. The spaghetti was fine, if a little too soft in places. It’s the worst lobster dish I’ve ever had.
I considered dessert, but decided not to risk it given the appalling quality of my starter and main course.
Trattoria Mondello is what I imagine many high street restaurants were like in Britain back in the 1970s – garishly decorated eateries serving up poorly cooked, blandly flavoured food. The only thing saving Trattoria Mondello from a one star rating is the friendly and efficient service. Unless there are some hidden gems in the labyrinthine menu, there’s no reason to dine at Trattoria Mondello. Even then, it had better be stunning to pull me away from the other quality Italian restaurants nearby that don’t cost the earth, such as Latium.
Name: Trattoria Mondello
Address: 36 Goodge Street, London, W1T 2QN
Phone: 020 7637 9037
Opening Hours: seven days a week noon-15.00 and 17.30-23.00.
Reservations: yeah, if you want.
Total cost for one person including soft drinks but excluding tip: £25 approx.