Saturday, 16 April 2011

Dego Italian Restaurant (Saturday, 9th April 2011)

As some of my mum’s relatives were staying with us, my dad pounced on the opportunity to use his tastecard, which allows him to get discounts in participating restaurants. Most of the restaurants that take part in this are places that need more publicity and advertisement. We last used our tastecard at Original Tangines, a restaurant that we were extremely disappointed with. We were expecting more from Dego, an Italian restaurant on Great Portland Street, London.

The restaurant has two floors.  The ground level floor is a wine bar and the underground floor a restaurant. The dark walls of the restaurant are decorated with some random paintings.  The room itself was rather small with a cocktail bar at one end of it. Several bulbs shielded by red tinted lampshades lit the room, whilst the speakers played a monotonous drumbeat. This atmosphere gave the room a somewhat promiscuous air to say the least. As we ordered our meals, it was evident that there was a slight language barrier between us and the waitresses, who did not seem to fully comprehend what we were saying and spoke with a very heavy accent. 

My dad, my brother, my cousin’s boyfriend ( C ) and I all went for the beef tartare to start. This was prepared at our table and was a very delicate process. The beef was not too sharp, something many people get wrong when preparing tartare. The meat retained most of its natural sweetness and the spices added were just recognisable. I personally thought it needed more pepper but my dad and brother disagreed. My mum started with pea and red mullet soup. I had a little of it and was surprised. The pea flavour was very strong but not too sweet, and the fish was flaky, although there was not much of it. The cocktails were also very good both in flavour and presentation. The virgin raspberry mojitos that my brother and I chose were sweet, sharp and had a subtle mint flavour, which was very refreshing.

Amuse bouche of salmon and asparagus

Preparing steak tartare

Steak tartare

Pea and red mullet soup

We were worried at how big the primi piattis would be, as we have experienced gargantuan pasta dishes previously. The waitress told us that they were quite big, as well as gesturing with her hands how big they were, and so we decided to order just one pasta dish to share between my dad and my brother. Strangely, the amount of pasta was very small. The dish was pasta with duck ragu, which was very average. I had a smooth potato and leek soup with scallops. The soup was smooth and saporous. The leeks were a bit on the chewy side.  However, the scallops were very well cooked (although there was not enough of it) and had a crystalline crust. C and my mum had pasta with rabbit ragu. Although my mum liked it, C thought it was over seasoned.

Potato and leek soup with scallops


Pasta with duck ragu

Pasta with rabbit ragu

For secondi piatti, my dad chose the paper steamed sea bass. The fish was fresh and cooked to perfection. The accompanying beans were very good as well and my dad thoroughly enjoyed the dish.  My brother and I had both chosen confit duck with rocket salad and a grapefruit dressing. The dish probably should have been called rocket salad with confit duck, as the former was much more abundant than the latter on the plate. The duck was lacking in nearly everything. The skin was very buttery, which I did not find to my taste. The meat fell off the bone nicely, but it was very unpleasant in the mouth as it had a grainy texture. The whole dish could have been a bit more brackish and the salad needed much more dressing to match its abundance. 

Confit duck

Paper steamed sea bass

For desserts, my mum chose a chocolate and caramel meringue in ginger sauce. Although it was described as a meringue, it was more of a crème. However, the ginger sauce complimented the honeyed flavours of the chocolate and caramel. My dad and brother had rose parfait with real rose petals. This arrived at the table with an entire rose settled horizontally on the plate. My dad was revolted by the flavours and left me with the rest. Since it tasted very much like rose Turkish delight, I thoroughly enjoyed it. My brother and I also enjoyed the rose petals, which my dad could not understand either. My aunt had a beautifully presented traditional crumbly cake. 

Chocolate and caramel meringue in ginger sauce

Crumbly cake

Rose parfait

Food quality 7/10
Presentation 7/10
Ambience 7/10
Service 7/10
Value for money 7/10

Though the food was by no means ambrosial, it was certainly above average. Service was not bad but there is room for improvement. Presentation was varied, with some dishes appearing extravagant and others looking drab. An above average meal but it is unlikely that we will become regular customers. 

Reviewer - CT (age 12)

Photography - DT

Dego' Restaurant and wine bar on Urbanspoon

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