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“Several people have recommended this Italian...”

Written on: 20/04/2007 by ajg90 (1 review written)

Several people have recommended this Italian restaurant to us, and having noticed that it is very often busy, we decided to give it a go.

Inside and outside, Umberto's restaurant in Norwich looks like it has not changed since 1980. Neither has the long menu, which is filled with the same unimaginative dishes that you have had at every run-of-the-mill Italian restaurant since 1980, nor the curt service.

The old waiter welcomed us to the restaurant and set the tone for the evening's service with a bored "Yes?".

For a restaurant of this quality, the wine is enormously expensive, so we decided to buy a litre carafe of house white for £12.95, which arrived in a tired looking glass jug.

We asked for a jug of tap water, and the young waiter refused to give it to us saying that he is not allowed to give us tap water; we have to buy bottled water. Outrageous!!!

The food was presented on crockery that even your granny wouldn't use any more, and it was of a quality that was the norm in the 1980's, but that is not up-to-standard for 2007.

My crostini tasted like hard, stale bread, the tiny portion of pennette was really, really, really, really over-cooked and the tomato sauce with calabrese bacon was just dull. I can cook better than this, and I expect to be impressed when I pay for a meal out.

Of the other meals, the duck was "nice", the pizza was "very poor" and the four thumb-sized pieces of "rack of lamb" and small amount of vegetables for £10.75 - hugely overpriced.

There was a long gap between the arrival of the food and the collection of the plates, during which time we were completely ignored. Our honest reply to "Was everything all right?" was ignored too, as was our departure from the restaurant.

Norwich, you must not accept this quality of food and service. It is simply not good enough. You deserve so much better for the money.

Recommendation: stay at home, open a tin of alphabetti spaghetti and order a home delivery pizza. Drink as much tap water as you like.

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