My wife and I were in Didcot for the showing of the Andre Rieu Christmas Concert direct from Maastricht which was brilliant and afterwards we had booked a table at the Al Gusto restaurant for 7-30pm. When we arrived we waited in the reception area and after a minute or so we were shown to our table and given a menu and the wine list. The ambience and overall appearance was good and clean and the cooking was done open style at the back of the restaurant where 3 guys were preparing the food. To commence we ordered a bottle of Pinot Grigio Rose at £16-95p a bottle, which was brought to our table well chilled. Whilst its ABV was 12% it was not a quality wine but again what did we expect for that price nowadays. From the menu we selected the Garlic Bread for starters at £4-15p as it was called and for mains my wife selected the Insalata di Pollo (Grilled Chicken with Salad and Garlic toast) at £10-95p I chose the Calzone Rialto £10-95p (Folded Pizza with Mozzarella Cheese, tomato, ham, spinach and herbs topped with Tomato Sauce) The Garlic bread appeared reasonably quickly but it was far from the delight we were expecting it was simply over cooked pieces of pizza base with an almost indiscernible taste of garlic which were just about edible. Then came a further problem whereby a lady and man not really knowing about the etiquette of the place did not wait at the front desk to be shown to their table but simply walked in and sat down at the table next to ours. Then the man who appeared to be angry about something then became very vocal about the lack of service. Very strange when he did not have the patience to wait to be shown to a table. He continued to be quite verbal and angry even with the lady who was with him. Whilst this cabaret was going on we continued to wait for our main course. Having entered at 7-30pm or just afterwards it was now almost 8-30pm and when questioned we were told it would be a further 10 minutes which was in my view unacceptable. Eventually the food was served, my Calzone looked huge, but when I used my fork on it the result was just like a balloon popping and it went completely flat and when I tackled it further the contents were very disappointing. The ham was simply small pieces cut from packet slices, there was no tomato, very little in the way of herbs, I did find some Mozzarella but the tomato sauce on the side was cold. My wife's Chicken Salad was somewhat lacking in Chicken but had massive amounts of tomato slices as well as more of that awful Pizza Bread so say with Garlic Butter.
For dessert and really to fill up I chose two scoops of ice cream Cherry and also Banana from the display upon entry, the Banana was okay but the Cherry was almost chemical in its taste.
We normally tip but did not feel it was appropriate here not only because of slow service but also the quality of the meal was not up to the standard we had expected. Perhaps we should have chosen the other Italian Prezzo which did not appear from reports to be as good as Al Gusto.
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