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Strada, London

Well-known brand and wonderful location but what a let-down

Strada, Queen’s Walk, Southbank Centre, London

RATING: Food 1.5; Ambience 2; Service 2.5; Drinks 3; Toilets 3; Website 3

I love Southbank. The walk is stunning and I’m not alone. The day we went it was packed and not just because of the pre-Christmas street market. The views of the city skyline across the River Thames are memorable even on a grey, chilly Saturday just before Christmas.

However, people – or, to be precise, too many of them - appeared to be a problem for Strada that day.

The location on Queen’s Walk was, we determined, an ideal place to meet and as it is a well-known name which claims to offer simple, freshly-prepared dishes using the finest seasonal produce, we thought it would suit everybody.

We also plumped for an easy option. A risotto can’t surely, even in a packed restaurant, be too taxing for an established chain. Wrong. Our risotto eventually arrived and was tasteless. We left most of it. We were not the only ones. People on the next door table complained that their food was overcooked.

Maximising profit is important in the restaurant game but not at the expense of quality. What we received was a shock and not what we expected from a well-known brand which offers – their words, not mine – a “sophisticated ambience…subtle lighting schemes creating an atmosphere that’s perfect for a romantic dinner or group lunch. Hmmm…

Suffice it to say that this was a dismal advert for Strada. The noise was deafening and not the environment in which to enjoy a meal with company. Sad really and it put a real damper on our day out.