Sunday, March 02, 2014

AskItalian, Oxford

Friday 21 February
We had concert tickets for John Dowland's Lachrimae at the Sheldonian, and decided to have dinner nearby rather than walking home.  So we took potluck on George Street, and came up at AskItalian (a chain, alas, but what can you do - they all are, there).
Our starters included stuzzichini - i.e., two rather mingy tomato-coated slices of bread, a single slice of finocchiona salami and a single chunk of pecorino sardo, and a few bland Nocellara olives (see comments on Loch Fyne two days ago).  The fried calamari were better, served with lemon and nose-blowing garlic mayonnaise.
Our primo was "ravioli marittimi" stuffed with crayfish, crab, salmon and ricotta (what Italian would allow cheese with fish?! - and so bland!), and served in creamy tomato sauce with king (i.e. tiny) prawns and one large (tasty) prawn in its shell.
Our secondo primo was "Terrina frutta di mare" - a small bowl of king (actually tiny again) prawns, mussels, clams, sea bass, thin-sliced squid rings and potatoes in a white wine and tomato sauce, with (for once) abundant rosemary focaccia to flesh it out.
Wine was a Garganega di Sartori in the Veneto, which was good - but the glasses' stems were hollow, so you ended up warming the wine by holding the glass.  This restaurant has made a lot of odd decisions.

But we did get to the concert on time, and so did Harold, despite a pheasant's flying into the windshield of his bus on the way up from London.  And we must say, Fretwork (with Elizabeth Kenny and Ian Bostridge) was worth it (the food, not the pheasant).

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