Thank goodness the Il Lido group decided to cut their losses after a few months, and opened Latteria Mozzarella Bar in place of the awful Jackson Plan. At least they’re sticking to what they know better – Italian food with a focus on mozzarella as the name suggests, rather than pseudo innovative gastropub food. The space is only marginally changed, and the servers are largely the same as well.
At our friends M&M’s suggestion, we ordered the burrata but didn’t add
ham like they did/suggested. I’m not sure if that made all the difference. M
was raving about the burrata to us, and while I must admit that it was a pretty
good burrata, I still felt that it was slightly lacking, perhaps in seasoning,
compared to the one at Valentino. Maybe Valentino’s burrata has spoiled us for
all other burratas; I just know that theirs just needs some salt, pepper and
olive oil to complement the cheese. Here, it was served with a red pepper
relish which I ended up eating separately because I wanted to taste the cheese
I chose the truffle and smoked mozzarella risotto, since it’s supposed to be one of their more signature items. Flavours were good, with both the truffle and smoked mozzarella coming through strongly. It was lighter than expected, though finishing an entire portion would still be a challenge. One criticism is that it was a bit too stiff. A really good risotto needs to ooze; this one stayed put and wasn’t going anywhere.
Deciding against an overly rich meal of both a risotto and a pasta, we went with a grilled sirloin instead. This was surprisingly more like a salad. The meat was pre-sliced and served on a bed of arugula, and topped with shaved parmesan. This was pretty tasty, but also probably something you could easily recreate at home.
Still, I can’t really fault the food. It may not have wow-ed us but it was perfectly decent and a damn hell better than The Jackson Plan. My grouses for the evening were with the service. We overheard some specials being recited to another table, so when one of the more established-looking servers came to take our order, we asked for the specials and were told about the lobster pasta, and a turkey roulade of sorts. None of which appealed to us so we ordered off the menu.
After we placed our order, we overheard another table being told of the specials, and there were about 3 more that we weren’t told of – a mozzarella bruschetta, a pizza, and a foie gras spaghetti with veal sauce. That kinda wrecked my mood for the evening, because a big pet peeve of mine is servers not being consistent about reciting off-menu specials.
Trying to get the servers’ attention is also quite a feat. There are quite a number of them but all seemed oblivious to anything other than their immediate task at hand. One guy was intently just slicing bread. Others seemed fixated on bringing food or menus to tables, rendering them incapable of multi-tasking or even looking beyond their immediate line of vision to see if anyone needed any attention. We signalled for the bill, but it took ages, and even longer to get another server’s attention to remind them of it.
Two pet peeves, service-wise, means that the food better be awesome for me to want to return. Unfortunately it wasn’t, and while I won't write them off just yet, it’s not exactly on the top of my “must return” list. Not like Kazu. Or Bruno’s.
By no means the best but it does have an interesting cheese selection. Service though is hit or miss with some servers being very good while others being totally lost. So would I come back? Only if I had a craving for savoury cheese starters in the area.
Latteria Mozzarella Bar
40 Duxton Hill
Mon – Thurs: 12 noon – 2.30 pm; 6 pm – 11 pm
Fri: 12 noon – 2.30 pm; 6 pm to 1 am
Sat: 5 pm – 1 am