We shared bruschetta and antipasti for starters; both were fresh, tasty and pretty well-presented, though the bread was distinctly un-Italian - a bit disappointing in an area where you can’t step outside without falling over a regional delicatessen. Main courses were a bit mixed – the Spaghetti Bolognese was pretty good, suggesting that sympathetically-priced standards will be Verde’s strongpoint.
The staff, while very friendly and terribly helpful, somehow managed to give the impression of never having eaten in a restaurant, let alone worked in one. Alarm bells first began to sound when I was asked how I wanted my chicken cooked. In response to my slightly worried expression, the waiter helpfully offered ‘Medium? Well done?’ – though mercifully not ‘rare’. I opted for ‘well-done’, as you might. There was nothing at all wrong with the cuisson of the dish when it arrived, though slightly sadder were the two flabby rashers of smoked bacon nestling under a layer of mozzarella as a substitute for pancetta, and the extremely uniform chips. The chilli and red pepper sauce was full of flavour, however, and the salad once again fresh, with a good, subtle dressing. Our (very nice, slightly pricey) wine was poured, then gamely left on the table with the cork stuck in the neck, raising the faint ghost of a romantic first meal in a student house.
Pudding would have hit the spot if we had still been starving, but the emphasis was once again on size, and we were a bit over-faced by an unmanageable and highly flavoured Tiramisu. We finished up with a good espresso and a luke-warm mocha, and paid £65 for the lot.
This place seems to have the right - if rough and ready - attitude to service, and affordable, relaxed dining, and various mistakes are bound to get ironed out as they find their feet - but they’ll have to take a long hard look at the quality of their food if they want to find a niche in an area where diners are already spoilt for choice.