Having spoken to friends who have been to the new Prezzo in Kettering, the first thing they said was: “It’s not like being in Kettering.”
The firm said it had spent more than £500,000 fitting out the restaurant in Market Place and I can believe it. It’s very stylish with big mirrors, huge lampshades and muted colours. It reminds me a bit of an extremely chic apartment Ade and I once rented in Gothenburg.
We soon added our own interior design touch by keeping our bikes in the living room, but somehow I can’t see the manager of Prezzo ever being allowed to stick up a poster of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The night we went along with Phil and Karen, and their daughter, Natasha, the place was buzzing. Despite being told by one member of staff that he would be our waiter for the night, only to never be seen again, the service was slick and professional.
In fact, call me an old grouch but the service was almost too professional. I understand that chains try to get their staff to “upsell” but it grates with me. If I wanted extra side orders with my meal, I’d ask for them.
The menu caters for all appetites with calorie-counted options for those trying to be good and a list of specials. We were starving when we arrived so asked for olives (£2.95) while we looked at the menu. The others had all been to a Prezzo restaurant before so had an idea of what they wanted, while Ade and I took a bit longer to make up our minds. Natasha opted for her favourite starter, mozzarella garlic bread (£3.90) while Phil and I had the king prawns with garlic, chilli and spinach (£5.65) and Karen and Ade had the calamari (also £5.65). I was pleasantly surprised at how many prawns I got, some restaurants are a bit stingy. They were big and juicy and the sauce had a surprising kick to it.
Ade felt the batter on the calamari was a bit undercooked but agreed with Karen that the actual filling was beautifully cooked. Tash soon polished off her garlic bread.
The star of the main courses was, to my surprise, Karen’s chicken and spinach salad (£9.95), a huge bowlful with a generous portion of chicken as well as avocado, mushrooms and roasted peppers. Natasha’s pizza, a basic margherita with added grilled chicken (£8.90) was also a hit. I enjoyed my rigatoni arrabbiata (£7.25) which had a lovely tomato and chilli sauce. Sounds familiar? I should have paid more attention when ordering as the sauce was similar to the one on the prawns but more mellow.
I finished it all, which is something of a first for me as I normally find pasta dishes in restaurants too large. Ade went for the meatball lasagne (£9.50) from the list of specials. Presentation-wise it was the least appealing of all our dishes, however, Ade enjoyed the flavour but we thought our meals could have been hotter. Phil’s chicken with mushrooms in a marsala wine sauce (£12.75) looked quite small considering it was the most expensive dish we chose and he soon finished it off.
Tash then went for the ‘taster dessert’ with a hot drink option, choosing a profiterole and a cup of tea (£3.50).
Phil decided he had to try the tiramisu (£4.95) and really enjoyed it. In the interests of research Ade didn’t opt for tiramisu as well, his favourite, but went for the lemon torte (£4.95), a lighter option that hit the mark.
market place, sheep street, kettering
DISABLED ACCESS: Yes
COST OF OUR MEAL
FINAL TOTAL: £133.25 (for five, including drinks)
Janet’s star rating 7/10