On Leeds Bridge sits Viva, a traditional Italian restaurant with a nice old-fashioned feel. We decided to give it a try on a recommendation, so a last minute reservation was made for a Saturday night.
The owner (at least we think he was the owner!) meets you at the door and a firm handshake is followed by the offer of a drink. The wine list was mainly “by the bottle” and only house wine served by the glass. I decided to risk it and it was ok but not brilliant, so my second glass later on was a rose (harder to be awful, I find, than white).
For starter, I had the mussels. Very tasty in a garlic and wine broth – I do like the version where they add cream to the sauce, but it can sometimes be a bit heavy for a starter.
A had the calamari, which he was very positive about, especially that they included the tentacles and not just the usual “squid rings”.
Main courses were spaghetti al pesto for me, served with pine kernals, parmesan, caprino cheese and olive oil. Also, small sliced potatoes are added to the mix, a rather strange contribution to a carb-overload but it worked well.
A had a pizza – the Dolcelatte – with pepperoni, mushrooms and gorgonzola cheese. Very good pizza.
So the food was pretty good Italian fayre. The service, however, was rather rushed. When I was eating my starter, I saw a waiter’s head peer round the corner several times, to see if I was done with my mussels, and when I had finished, it became clear why. The main course was served straight away, with literally no break whatsoever. Now this might be down to the fact we had booked late, and they were “squeezing us in”. But it was the most rapid service I had ever seen! This is a good thing if you are having lunch and need to rush back to work, but is not so good if you are out for the evening and are in and out in less than an hour.