A restaurant steeped in history in bustling Ashley Road TST should be busily packed at lunchtime, La Taverna is not despite it's fabulous location.
There is no greeting as you walk in. Restaurant is cozy, full of off colour decorative items (I did not say junk) from their glory days in the 80's and dust, dust and more dust. There is dust all along the skirting and in all the corners, there is more dust covering everything that is hanging from the ceiling, including the shaded lamp right above your table, over whatever you want to eat. It is one thing being old, it is certainly another being dirty and I surely am not keen on dust sprinkles on my food. My leather chair has a big hole on the side and the stuffing are coming out in handfuls.
My friend and I ordered 2 set lunches. We kicked off with Minestrone soups. The soup has no pasta, no cavalo nero cabbage and no canellini beans and certainly no parmesan cheese sprinkles. That is fine if they have not boasted that their menu is authentic Italian. And just when you think you cannot go wrong with a simple tomato based vegetable soup, it has absolutely no taste, no seasoning and no love. It is a complete waste of energy transporting spoonfuls of it from the soup dish to our mouths.
My chicken breast in Marsala sauce came as a shock to me when it arrived, I was not sure it was actually what I had ordered. On the plate, there were 4 thin slices (each no bigger than a business card) of meat, covered in a gloopy sauce. It definitely said chicken breast on the menu! The sides are equally shocking too. Potato wedges are stone cold, not fresh, definitely not cooked on the same day and tasteless. The 2 lumps of carrot are cut from the big carrots which are usually used in Chinese soup making, they have been hot water dipped before putting on the plate whilst the centre is still cold, again no taste. Cauliflower is the only hot item on the plate but surely they do not just cook vegetables in hot water in Italy, at least not in the 21st century plus we did not come for diet food.
The chicken breast meat has a very strange, loose texture, something which I cannot associate with fresh food. The sauce has a sour, off putting after taste.
And just when you think that a Spaghetti Carbonara is the easiest thing to cook in the world and I could have made that at home, out came the La Taverna version for my friend. Pasta is hard, not al dente, this is not even rubber band chewy, it is like wire. The pasta arrived barely warm. The sauce was a gluey mess which has already set on arrival. Worst still, either the cream or the cheese has turned rancid and was giving off a very strong pongy odour and it's taste further confirmed our beliefs.
I was hoping to give my mouth a rinse with some coffee but the coffee served here is sour, aggressive and below average, my nescafe at home is much more approachable. We skipped the urge to order a tiramisu in order to save our lives, we were not sure whether we would be getting something that they had prepared in the 1960's.
Despite less than 10 diners in the restaurant, there is no service. Dishwasher emerged from the kitchen having loud conversations with the floor staff. CD player has been jumping the moment we walked through the door but no one cares. Music was something you want to hear before you slit your wrist.
We paid $230 for our inedible lunches and our tummies were grumbling afterwards. If you want to unimpress someone, bring them here otherwise keep on walking past La Taverna.
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)
Spending per head: Approximately HKD115(Lunch)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 1