Nestled on the corner of Hope Street and West George Street, I was largely unaware of Pulcinella’s existence when dad suggested we head there for a pre-theatre meal (funnily enough his description of the red and white tablecloths didn’t really help me to identify the place!). However, a quick google search later and we had decided that Pulcinella would indeed provide what we were looking for – a reasonably priced pre-theatre menu in the city centre. I quickly booked a table through their online booking form, although I needn’t have worried as there were only 3 or 4 other occupied tables when we arrived.
The restaurant interior is pure Italian tack…ahem… I mean tratt. Nothing too offensive, however I have a suspicion no true Italian trattoria would be seen dead with the sheer amount of décor in Pulcinella – red and white tablecloths are just the beginning. The walls are covered in tableau-style images, and you can look up to see models of clowns (little bit sinister) dotted among the hanging Italian flags.
Our order was taken fairly quickly and our starters arrived not long after – perhaps a little too quickly for my liking but we were both pretty hungry so we were happy to dig in. Dad had ordered the Arancini, and was presented with two reasonably sized deep fried balls of rice stuffed with tomato and mozzarella. The rice was a nice sticky consistency, and dad quite liked the tomato sauce served with the dish. Meanwhile, I tucked into three meaty Polpettine al Sugo (meatballs in tomato sauce). The meatballs fell apart at the touch of the knife, and did have a nice meaty flavour. However, both dishes could definitely have been hotter so clearly they shouldn’t have been served quite as quickly as they were.
Thankfully, we were given a more reasonable gap between starters and mains though the problem of heat arose again. Dishes should be piping hot when leaving the kitchen and these dishes certainly hadn’t been anything more than relatively warm. Dad’s Lamb’s Liver ‘Veneziana’ was a rather paltry looking portion, especially when compared to my Pollo Milanese. The liver (more well done than the medium dad had requested) was accompanied by a dish of sad, peely-wally vegetables which included one solitary boiled potato cut in half. My portion was certainly a much better size, with a mound of spaghetti accompanied by a huge piece of breaded chicken. While the coating on the chicken did have a nice crispiness to it, I was sad to discover that no herbs or spices had been used in the batter. The end result was a very plain tasting chunk of chicken that, although well cooked, really needed some oomph. The spaghetti, at the end of the day, was spaghetti and I really can’t say much more on the matter.
I think you’ll have guessed by now that I wasn’t hugely impressed by Pulcinella, with the best bit of my meal being the wine! I doubt that I’ll be back, however I do have a tip for anyone who decides to give it a go. Book online. Seriously – even if you’re going at noon on a Tuesday, book online. The free glass of wine that comes with your booking will help to ease the blow of the sub-standard food.