Review: The Greedy Italian, Bletchley
April 12, 2019
Recommendations for restaurants to try are always welcome and something that has regularly popped up on my Facebook page is the fact two of my friends like The Greedy Italian in Bletchley.
As those two friends are discerning when it comes to food, I soon popped it on my list of places to eat.
An attempt to go there for breakfast once was utterly thwarted by the lack of parking in that part of Bletchley. A trip from there to Fourth and Fifth was then thwarted by the arrival of a hen party. Destiny was trying to tell us something that day but that's another story.
This time we played smart and booked a table at the aforementioned restaurant - and destiny was in our favour. A quick look at the menu online told me not to expect standard pizza and pasta fare, an always welcome sign. As someone who hates picking up the phone to talk to people (outside of my work environment) I was also pleased to see I could book a table online.
The restaurant is on the corner of Victoria Road and Tavistock Street and is a small - but cosy - venue. Warm wood and brick make up the decor with vines providing the decoration. The room was modern yet traditional.
I got good vibes from the place which was helped by the quick and attentive staff. The service was very efficient and we didn't have to wait long to place our order.
For starters I ordered the salt and pepper squid with lemon and garlic aioli while TG ordered the gamberoni piccante - pan fired prawns with garlic, chilli and herb butter.
I am a recent convert to squid having traditionally shunned it due to the 'tentacle factor' and it wasn't until I tried a batterless calamari in a little restaurant in Nice, France, which was cooked so well it was melt in the mouth, that I decided squid wasn't so bad after all.
This squid was served in its greater spotted version in batter, but I was still pleased with its texture although it didn't blow me away (to be fair, holiday seafood is something all of its own). The aioli was also good, and much like other aioli I have tried in other restaurants.
As a follower of the twitter account, We Want Plates, I was a bit amused to see the squid being served in a wire basket. This is a fashion that needs to stop! Please stick to plates. Call me old-fashioned, but you know where you are with a plate. Small gripe over.
Having a quick sample of TG's prawns - again something I wouldn't have eaten years ago - I was suitably impressed. They were tender and the sauce was smooth and flavourful.
For main course, I ordered rigatoni funghi pollo e chorizo - pasta with chicken, chorizo, mushrooms, tomato and cream - while TG had spaghetti carbonara with chicken.
Deceptively deep bowls (see, I told you old-fashioned was better) were served to us and a small pot of finely grated parmesan was placed on the table. A nice touch.
My rigatoni was lightly spiced with an underlying sweetness. The chicken was tender and there was plenty of it. Chorizo can sometimes make a dish oily, but in this case the sauce was nicely blended together.
TG enjoyed his carbonara but found it a touch under seasoned (thank goodness for the parmesan). What would have brought the dish to the next level, however, would have been for the pasta to be freshly made. Making pasta from scratch, I know from having done it myself, takes effort, but for a restaurant which says it provides an 'authentic Italian experience' it is something I would have expected.
For dessert, I ordered the cheesecake with strawberry jam, honeycomb, Italian meringue and raspberry sorbet, while TG ordered the highly traditional tiramisu. The cheesecake was lovely and creamy and, being 'all about the base' (see what I did there!) I was very happy indeed. The sorbet provided an excellent counterpoint to the sweet cheesecake. What I would say however is there does seem to be a move towards using certain trendy presentations including using a paintbrush to wipe sauce onto a plate. Please, you don't need to do this. The food stands on its own merits.
And because I like stealing other people's food, I tried TG's tiramisu. Not a fan of this most famous of Italian desserts - I usually find it too bitter - I had a small sample. I was mightily impressed. Not only was it smooth, it had a lovely light texture. Definitely one to try next time.
In summary, I enjoyed my visit to The Greedy Italian. I know I've moaned about a few things here - middle class moans at that - but I would come again. The fact the restaurant was packed was a good sign and I was also impressed by the friendliness of the staff. The food was of a high standard and it was good to see an Italian restaurant trying dishes beyond the standard. Just leave the trendy presentation where it belongs.
The Greedy Italian, 79 Victoria Road, Bletchley, MK2 2NZ, http://greedy-italian.co.uk/