If you love hearty dishes and friendly surroundings, catch up and carb up at Prezzo this autumn, says editor Sophie Ritchie when she takes the new autumn menu for a taste drive
Usually, a restaurant review involves a London commute via slow and sluggish Southern Rail transport – a journey that entails an average of one delay and at least several questionable train passengers. But visiting my local Prezzo restaurant in West Sussex to try the group’s new seasonal menu meant that lunch was just a short 10-minute drive away – success.
Recently launched just in time for the turn in weather, Prezzo’s new autumn menu features all the hearty Italian classics plus variations with some added va va voom – think pasta, pizza, salads and of course, decadent desserts. There’s also a selection of brand new drinks to help wash them down – including an autumn-inspired Blackberry Negroni and Spiced Rum Punch.
I visit with Papa Wordrobe for lunch, hungry after my morning run for a carb-powered meal. My dad, who is perhaps the world’s biggest advocate of lunch, is as famished as me. We start with a duo of starters, both too polar opposite in tastebud preferences to share. Hummus and flatbread for me, with a large platter of crispy calamari for him. The hummus bowl is more a small lake and could definitely satisfy the appetite of three. Served with a mountain of flat bread, which has a skinny, light and deliciously moreish consistency. I dip it bit by bit into the creamy white bean hummus with vigour as dad polishes off his entire plate of fried squid.
I’m hungry but not ravenous – and luckily, Prezzo have devised a special section of the menu for smaller appetites with ‘lunch-sized’ portions. I order the vegan variation of the Chicken & Roasted Peppers Pizzetta (which is still large but not ridiculous) covered in rich tomato sauce with pools of melted cheese and chunks of plant-based ‘chicken’. Served with a fresh salad, it’s the ideal ‘Goldilocks’ size for lunchtime and full of plant-based cheesy flavour.
My dad meanwhile has opted for his eternal classic – spaghetti carbonara. The clue’s in the latter of the name – the portion is vast, with a mountain of creamy spiralled spaghetti to work through. He rises to the challenge like a gladiator ready for his next tournament – even if defeated by the need for a ‘doggy bag’ at the end of the meal. “That’s tomorrow’s lunch sorted,” he nods approvingly. I told you he was a fan.
We both pass on dessert as we’re too full for a sweet tooth fix but finish our midday feast with a duo of coffees – if you’re a chocolate fan however, the new Triple Chocolate Tart does sound very tempting. The room’s busy with fellow diners but our friendly waiting staff show no sign of rushing us, instead letting us linger happily and even striking up conversation after we’re finished.
The Wordrobe Verdict
Simple classics, traditionals with a twist and speedy service – this is ideal for tasty sustenance that hits the spot (and not your wallet). If you love hearty dishes and friendly surroundings, catch up and carb up at Prezzo this autumn.