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Address: Assembly Rooms / Market Place / Derby / DE1 3AW

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      25.10.2012 19:07
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      An average sort of Italian with above average prices

      Ask Italian -Derby This is an Italian restaurant that is part of a chain and fairly new in Derby. It can be found in the Market Place not too far from the Assembly rooms and the Quad so convenient for a pre performance meal. I can't remember what was there before, I believe it was a cafe but it has been renovated and done up in a very modern chic style and now looks very welcoming. I met a group of former colleagues there for a meal in the evening and we were welcomed in a very friendly manner and shown to our table. We managed to order our drinks including a jug of tap water which they also asked if we wanted ice and lemon in which we did. Our table was spotlessly clean and our glasses, clean and a funky sort of shape. They were very patient with us when they came to take our orders as we had been yakking so much we had to ask for extra time twice. In the mean time they had brought our drinks and left us to make our eating decisions for a few more minutes. We decided to have some olives and ciabatta to share between the six of us. We did rather well as only three of us liked olives which we hadn't been told when the suggestion was made , more fool them for not shouting up! I did feel that these sharing plates were actually quite expensive though and I am not sure I'd bother again. There was not a lot of bread and they didn't bring us any bread or rolls as part of our meal either which I felt was a bit stingy. I have to admit I would never choose Italian as my first choice when eating out as we have a lot of pasta meals at home and in my opinion pizza and pasta are just not that interesting or exciting if I am paying for a meal out but I didn't choose the venue. Often when meeting with a group this kind of non offensive place suits as no one can really object to the food. I was certainly not going to choose spaghetti bolognaise as that is something we have very regularly at home and we make a very good one too. One of my colleagues chose the spag bol and said it was very tasty and another chose pizza which did look tasty and pretty big but I would need half a pizza and a salad to freshen it up if I had chosen that. In fact I looked down the menu and discounted pizza too and struggled a little but eventually chose a chicken and seafood stew which was very tasty but rather monotonous, I always like vegetables with my food as I get sick of one flavour in my meal. The others chose various pasta dishes and all were happy with their meals. The waiting staff were all very pleasant and when our meals were brought to the table we were asked if any of us wanted ground pepper or parmesan. They came along with the huge grinders to apply these to our meals for those who wanted either or both. We all decided that we could manage a pudding which is typical of a group of ladies out together. Men always seem to prefer a starter and the ladies the desserts but maybe that is just my group of sweet toothed friends. I chose a selection of ice creams as I didn't fancy any of the more stodgy desserts like chocolate cakey sort of thing, a pear and almond torte, cheese cake and the like. They were all perfectly acceptable and everyone managed to eat what was on their plate but they were not exciting at all and certainly were not presented in any smart way. The staff were lovely both friendly and efficient but in my humble opinion the food was expensive for what we got and it was okay but not an exciting or interesting meal. The starter averaged around £5 each, the mains were all over £10 and the desserts around the £5+ mark. I remember thinking how expensive it was as my share was over £20 and I am sure we all only had one drink each and one only had a soft drink. Considering we only had two courses and that sharing olives and bread I think that is a lot for a fairly ordinary meal. The restaurant was nicely decorated and very modern with plenty of spaces between the tables. During the day there was plenty of light from the large picture windows but in the evening there were lights which were modern, IKEA style and suited the decor. The staff and service couldn't be faulted but from my personal viewpoint I think that for £20 to £25 a head I want a bit more style and finesse to my food. We are going again in December as the same person has chosen the venue and booked . I am not going to make a fuss but I am sure there are places in Derby where the food is more interesting and probably cheaper as well. I would choose India any day over Italian and there are so many of those in Derby offering brilliant food and prices as well as great service. The restaurant is disabled friendly as it is all on ground level. I can't say about the toilets as I didn't use them (too busy chatting) . If I use them in December I will update accordingly. Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name. ©Catsholiday

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