After watching a movie at the O2 Arena, we decided to try Italian at one of the multiple options and picked ASK Italian. We stepped into the restaurant at about 8:30 PM, and there was no one at the entrance to tend to us. We should have taken this as a sign and gone to another restaurant, but for some reason, decided to linger around and wait until a guy walked up to us after about five minutes, and put us at a booth in the middle of the restaurant.
The seat cushions at this booth were ripped and the foam was out, so we asked for another table. But then almost all the seats at the restaurant were in the same shape, and this one if anything, was better than the rest and so we decided to stay put.
We decided to order the Mushrooms Al Forno starter, Mushroom & Truffle Calzone, and the Spinach & Ricotta Girasole pasta. Wifey wanted to have a drink, so we also planned to order a large glass of Merlot. And then began the wait.
Our waiter was nowhere to be seen on the floor and so there was no one to take our order. There were a couple of other waiters around our table but they wouldn’t attend to us cos it wasn’t their table. When we asked them to call our guy, they turned a deaf ear. Another sign for us to get out, but we still didn’t (particularly because wifey doesn’t like to walk out from a restaurant after we’ve settled in).
Anyway, after about ten minutes, our guy finally appeared and apologized for the long wait. We placed our order, and again, the wait continued. About twenty minutes went by and there was still no sign of our food or the waiter (again). I started walking around the place to find the guy but no sign of him. I however saw our mushrooms on the kitchen counter, ready to be served, already cold.
After about thirty minutes, he walks to our table with the Wine. I told him off and informed him that the starters have been sitting at the counter for a while now, and I need them to be heated before being served. He walked to the kitchen and an argument broke out between him and the chef (who was equally miffed with him). All this was happening in front of the guests at the restaurant.
Anyhow, the mushrooms were served about an hour after we entered the place. At this point, I asked for the manager who came to us apologizing for the long wait and said he will waive the dish off our bill.
As for the dish, there were 5 pieces of mushroom stuffed with mozzarella and breadcrumbs, served with garlic mayonnaise. They were flavourful and tasty. While the quantity wasn’t great, I was happy with the dish.
After another fifteen minutes, a burnt calzone and watery pasta were served. I immediately asked them to be taken back, but the manager said they would not be able to redo them (it looked like the chef quit and left) and again offered to exclude them from our bill. It was almost 10:00 PM, we were hungry, and most other places were either closing or closed, so without any option, we decided to eat whatever we could.
The burnt calzone was almost inedible, but we somehow managed to pull out some sections without any burn and eat it. While the stuffing was good, you could taste the smoky flavour in every bite. We had to discard about three fourth of the dish.
As for the pasta, the girasole/ravioli was undercooked, and the sauce that was supposed to be creamy was watery. This was better than the calzone, but still disappointing.
Overall, a terrible experience and meal. The manager again walked up to our table and apologized profusely, but that didn’t help in any way. He charged us only for the wine and asked us to come back for a better experience the next time around, but I think we’ve had enough of ASK Italian for a lifetime. Forget the food, even the ambience was poor; who has almost every seat in the restaurant ripped apart? And the callous attitude of the waiters was pathetic. I don’t think I’ll be visiting any of their outlets even if they offer me free food on every visit.
Food: 4/10 (for the mushrooms)
Meal for 3: N/A (£7.43 for the Wine)