Reviewed by Dawn Watson
ASK Italian restaurants are a chain found in most towns around the country. They pride themselves on offering authentic Italian cuisine within a friendly comfortable atmosphere. With the famous Theo Randall assisting with their menu choices I was keen to try out our local one. On booking I explained that I had a gluten intolerance and my youngest daughter was allergic to peanuts. We were assured that they have a full allergen menu which lists whether or not it is gluten or nut free. They also explained that many dishes can have a gluten free pasta substitute or likewise a gluten free pizza base. I did note however, as with most companies, they could not guarantee their dishes were 100% allergen free.
On arrival we were taken upstairs, drinks were offered while we looked at the menu. I was surprised that our waiter was not aware that I had required to see the allergen menu as this had been specified on booking, however as he was extremely busy I found the menu online. We did note however the regular menu had details of which items could be substituted with a gluten free pasta or gluten free pizza base (the main menu does not mention peanuts).
My youngest had a children’s menu which consisted of 3 courses for £6.75, no drinks included with this. Typical children’s choice for mains, pizza, pasta etc. and for starters there was only carrot and cucumber with a thousand island style dressing and some pizza strips which she did enjoy. But we did not take the dip as we were not sure what this was made from.
I chose Melanzane Al Forno which was lovely, I noted that the breadcrumb topping was gluten free which was nice. My partner chose bruschetta but was slightly disappointed as it was very overpowered by balsamic vinegar and unfortunately was unable to finish it. For mains I chose a pizza with a gluten free base and my daughter chose carbonara, my youngest a margarita pizza and my partner a calzone pizza.
Mains took a wee while to arrive and all arrived at different times, unfortunately my pizza was cold making the mozzarella stringy and rubbery, this was pointed out to the person bringing our pizzas but he seemed unconcerned and just said ‘oh it was under the lamp.’ The actual taste was nice and the gluten free base was quite pleasant although a bit tough. My daughter ate very small mouthfuls of her carbonara as it was what she described as ‘tasteless’ – my partner tried it and he too said there was no flavour at all. The waiter did ask and she said how she felt, he said the recipe had been changed recently (this was later removed from the bill).
My partners calzone quattro salami arrived with lots of olives in which he doesn’t like, we rechecked the menu and this was not mentioned on it?? Olives have quite a particular taste and I would think this is something that should be mentioned is in the pizza as they are definitely not for everyone.
No sweets for us adults but my youngest chose the vanilla ice cream with marshmallows and meringues which she enjoyed and my eldest chose a chocolate lava fountain – a very rich chocolatey dessert but at £6.75 seemed overpriced for what it was.
Without the alcoholic drinks our bill came to just over £70 which did seem a lot for what we had and unfortunately was not entirely enjoyable. Our waiter was lovely but the food really let it down for us. It was a busy night but we would not rush back.
Sorry but we can only give 2.5 * for this meal.
For more information, to view menus and offers or to book a table visit www.askitalian.co.uk.
ASK Italian, The Centre, Livingston, EH54 6GS | 01506 430 891