AT GINO D'ACAMPO MY RESTAURANT
Gino D’ Acampo’s My Restaurant on Park Row is the place to see and be seen in.
The glass fronted restaurant stretches back a long way and this place is much bigger than it seems from the front. The décor is light and airy and very contemporary with comfortable seating and a very cosmopolitan atmosphere.
It was early evening on a Sunday when we visited and it was very busy. Despite having a booking, we were escorted right to the back of the restaurant near the servery despite other tables being available in a more pleasant situation.
Evidently this is a place where if you are a size 10, wearing designer clothing and a regular you are treated more amiably than the casual visitor – who lets face it could become a regular.
It’s also a place where there is no service with a smile as we found out as the meal progressed, at times treated quite brusquely by the staff who seemed to have little interest in serving us and didn’t really give us answers to our questions about the various dishes.
We decided to start with some olives whilst we looked at the menu. These took quite a while to arrive but they were worth waiting for as they were juicy and sweet.
For starters I chose Ribollita Soup, a chunky vegetable soup with toasted ciabatta. This was a new take on minestrone. The ciabatta was not very crispy unfortunately and the soup, although very tasty and flavoursome did have a tad too much cold floating cabbage.
My partners did a lot better with his Arancine. The crispy mushroom risotto balls were stuffed with hot buffalo mozzarella cheese. The dipping sauce of tomato and red pepper was the perfect accompaniment and brought out the flavour of the risotto balls.
Although our starter arrived quite speedily, before we had finished our olives, it was one long wait for our main course. There was also a change of server and we wondered if our main course order had been lost, as others who had been seated and ordered after us were tucking heartily into their food, one dish being the same as mine, whilst we were still waiting patiently.
My partner, who has lived in Italy, ordered The Real Neapolitan Pizza. This had Italian Sausage, Friearielli, Buffalo Mozzarella and Chilli. The pizza was soggy with oil on the base it should be crisp and when he pointed this out he was told that’s the way its meant to be. But as he has made and sampled these pizzas frequently in Italy he knows it does have extra virgin oil on it but the base is not drenched in it as this was.
My main course was both appetizing and very tasty. I chose the crispy chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and basil pesto. It was a large breast portion and very crispy. As a side I chose cheesy fries, which were sheer bliss crisp and hot with grated Pecorina cheese sprinkled on top. We also ordered a mixed salad to share which was colourful and beautifully presented with rocket, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber and fennel.
Gino D’ Acampo – My Restaurant has a wonderful menu of Italian food and like all Italian food it needs to be enjoyed in a relaxed atmosphere. Our experience certainly was far from relaxed with noisy staff waiting at the servery having private conversations and the general without a smile surly service.
Perhaps if you visit at a less busy time things could be different I am sure.
Gino D’Acampo – My Restaurant 11-12 Park Row, Leeds LS1 5HD. Tel: 0113 244 3220.
The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday from 12.noon to ll.pm and Sundays 12noon to 10.30.