Alloro (October 2012)

My visit to Alloro started badly but did notably improve and I would return, if more for the food than the overall experience. While my greeting on arrival was effusive, I requested if I could use the bathroom prior to being seated, a request that was met with some contempt as I was reluctantly shown where the stairs were. When done, my waiter was found lurking disdainfully at the top of the stairs (as if I had inconvenienced him quite considerably – surprising since the restaurant was mostly empty at this stage) and was then shown to a very small table in a corner at the back of the restaurant. I asked if we could perhaps have a different table and after some deliberation, I was reseated, again not with the best of grace. Things did get better though. Other staff members were considerably more friendly and even willing to engage in light-hearted conversation, especially when enthusiastically describing the day's specials. I went for the special starter, a dish of grilled tiger prawns, squid ink risotto and sour cabbage pesto. Although perhaps a bold combination, the ingredients worked well with the pesto acting as a great counterpart to the prawn. My dining comrade went for the borlotti bean soup, which was also pleasing. Although we had a somewhat longer than necessary wait for our mains (indeed the diners seated on the table next to us received their food before us despite having ordered after), both again pleased highly, a dish of gnocchi with veal ragout for me and one of pumpkin tortelli for my comrade. Each dish was prepared well, with notable use of fresh ingredients, the tastes being succulent, light and juicy. But for the service, my rating for Alloro would conceivably have been higher.