In current economic circumstances it is a rarity to have a work Christmas lunch and so it feels mean spirited to complain. However, the food and drink that was served to us at Taberna Etrusca was so dull and listless that I feel it is worth putting it on the record to warn other unsuspecting potential diners.
Taberna Etrusca itself is a charming little restaurant, tucked away in a narrow laneway off Bow churchyard. An outdoor terrace area would be popular in summertime and in winter provides a place for people to bellow into their blackberries between courses. The walls are covered in Ferrari posters and if you try hard enough you can almost imagine that you are in a little trattoria in Italy. That is, until the food arrives.
My entree of marinated fresh salmon with rocket salad and lemon dressing was in reality a piece of not particularly fresh smoked salmon served on some limp rocket leaves. However I was glad I had avoided the soft chicken liver pate with cranberry sauce which looked like Taberna Etrusca had run out of actual pate and picked something up at the last minute at Tesco.
Despite the paper party hats and air of festivity my mood did not improve when my main of grilled Scotch rib-eye steak arrived. I should have been forewarned by the fact that there was no query from our waiter as to how I would like my steak cooked. It just arrived in a somewhat tough medium state, rather cold and topped with a piece of congealed cheese. Roasted Christmas turkey with all the trimmings would perhaps have been a safer option although the turkey was fatty rather than the lean, succulent meat hoped for.
I had the cheese platter for dessert as by this stage I figured this was the safest option. A collection of soft and hard Italian cheeses was served with biscuits and was actually not too bad. Sadly the generally mediocre food was not saved by the famous Italian hospitality. It was made very clear to us that upon finishing our meal we were not to linger over a glass of wine and were to move along straight away. For a restaurant that is so reliant on the City lunch trade, Taberna Etrusca’s bah humbug approach is disappointing.
Details: 9-11 Bow Churchyard, London EC4M 9DQ (Ph 020 7248 5552)
Damage: Pricey. Three courses £39