Thursday evening and Back to Basics http://www.pizzeriabacktobasics.nl/ were so busy that they had back-to-back bookings. We were seated in between the toilet and the kitchen, after waiting for our table to be cleared of guests and then having a quartet of young, ill-mannered women make a break for the now-empty table, leaving behind the least desirable table in the restaurant, which we were then seated at. Not a good start, but someone has to get the dud table.
Okay moving on. The restaurant interior is cozy and relaxed. The wood-fire pizza oven sits in the middle of the restaurant, oozing the lovely smell of pizza cooking. Staff were initially friendly, then inattentive and careful to avoid all eye contact with guests. Naturally this resulted in delays in ordering, delays in individual meals reaching shared tables; hassle in ordering drinks; and by the end of the evening, an total lack of enthusiasm for dessert.
Vegetarian Antipasto (€9): a beautiful display of individually crafted and delicious pieces. The stuffed pepper on a bed of polenta was very good.
Tagatielle with Mushrooms and Eggplant: the homemade pasta seemed overcooked, which gave the dish a sloppy feel – although the mushrooms were flavourful.
Pizza Carfiofi (€12.50) – simple pizza with artichokes and black olives
Pizza Pera E Pancetta (€12.95) – with pear slices, walnut pieces and rucola (rocket)
Both pizzas were acceptable – uncomplicated, with light sprinkling of toppings. We both felt that more pizza sauce was needed.
We chose an easy-drinking Pinot Grigio (€21) to accompany the meal.
Overall: The service was a problem that might be solved by adding more experienced wait staff. The meal was fine, although not worthy of a return visit.
Wandering towards the Grote Markt on a Wednesday night, we discovered a new restaurant: Trattoria Complimenti. Technically not a new discovery as Complimenti have had a delightful Italian delicatessen (next door to the restaurant) and a stall at the local Saturday markets for some years. Both venues offering deliciously authentic Italian food items that are considered to be special treats at our house.
The restaurant space is warm and welcoming. Simple murals and floor tiles add to the atmosphere. Tables are decorated with oil-vinegar-salt-pepper stands, bottles of tap water, wooden menu cards, packets of cutlery and glasses. Centre tables are separated by olive plants – and the sparkling kitchen sits behind a barrier topped by a multitude of citrus fruits. You could well be in Italy.
Antipasti Misti (for two): a selection of warm and cold bits including various Italian white and blue cheeses; eggplant slices rolled around nut flavoured fillings; sausage and smoked meats; stuffed mushrooms, semi sun-dried tomatoes, all served on a bed of salad greens. Aesthetically pleasing with appetising fresh flavours.
Melanzane alla Parmigiana di Complimenti: roasted eggplant slices in layers with tomato-basil sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses – served with salad greens. Rich and delcious. Salad perfectly matched the vegetable-cheese combination to make the dish satisfying without being over-filling.
Insalata di spinaci con caprino: Spinach salad with goat cheese, semi sundried tomatoes, pinenuts and a balsamic vinegar dressing. Served with bread. The easiest way to maximize your iron levels. Successful combination of flavours – simple and appetising.
Summary: Professional, friendly service. House wine from Umbria (look for the picture of St Francis) is delicious and the perfect winter meal bottle! Total: €45 for a 2-person entrée + 2 main meals + bottle of wine.
Excellent dining experience at a price that will ensure we are regular customers.