I visited Giuseppe Arnaldo & Sons at Southbank on Wednesday night with four work colleagues, and overall we enjoyed what I would call “authentic Italian” – it was certainly not your usual pizza and bruschetta type fare.
At the time we didn’t know it was the famous restaurant it is – we were just wandering and decided to go in. We had traipsed up and down Southbank to choose something for dinner and we settled on Italian. As we entered the building we immediately noticed the decor – large walls spaces patterned with geometric designs, and walls covered with notes from patrons commenting on food, sports teams or anything. Cool.
A table for the five of us was found within minutes while we waited at the bar. The waiter served us bread straight away, and small wooden bowls were put on the table for olive oil for dipping the bread. (The olive oil and the cutlery were in containers set into the table top – unusual.) The waiter refilled the bread and our water glasses several times without us asking which is always a nice touch.
The menus were disguised as disposables placemats, and I did find them a little hard to read with small print and a strange font but there was a big range with plenty of interesting things to try. The waiter let us know what wasn’t available and was familiar enough with the menu to know if a side dish would be a good idea. All the waiters were wearing white lab coats so we were curious to see if they might be experimenting on us with their food
Between us we had:
Spaghetti “Arrabiata” Crab, Tomato, Chilli Baked in a Paper Bag
Mezzi Rigatoni, Our Own Pork Sausages, Sage, Tomato, Garlic, Chilli
Robert Marchetti’s Berkshire Pork Sausages, Wet Mascarpone Polenta, Roast Tomato Sauce, Basil
“La Tagliata” 250 grams Char-grilled Hereford /Angus Rib Eye Sliced, Rocket, Green Peppercorns, Chilli, Spring Onions
“Cartoccio” Whole Line Caught Snapper, Fennel Onion Compote, Steamed in a Paper Bag.
I know we were all impressed with spaghetti in a paper bag! However, the diner with the Rigatoni reported that it was fairly bland.
I had the pork sausages and enjoyed the different flavours. We also had a side dish of potatoes, rosemary, and garlic, and the potatoes were beautifully crisp and tasty.
TLDR: It was good, but not as WOW as the “in crowd” or the price would have you believe.