The Geeks are a prompt lot, so I was not surprised to find a couple of them already in situ, when I pitched up a good few minutes early. The place was much as I remembered it: a highly ornate ceiling; corinthian columns; with an emphasis on clean, simple whites, both in terms of the paintwork and the plates. It is undeniably smart and sophisticated.
We were seated in probably the most awkward spot in the whole place. It was awkward for us to slide around to fill our spot at the eight-person booth, and it was awkward for the waiting staff to serve and collect dishes. But the staff knew that this was the case, so admirably made the best of the set-up.
As we contemplated our menu options, complimentary glasses of prosecco arrived for us. It was a perk of booking under the Geeky name, I guess.
The menu was extensive, covering a wide selection of starters, pasta, meat, fish, vegetarian, and pizza options. Once the millisecond in which I opted to start with soup had passed, I was left to ponder from a couple of choices. Did I opt for pizza or for pasta? Given the proximity of my visits to La Favorita and Prezzo, I opted to eschew the pizza in favour of a pasta dish called contadino, which combined Centotre’s special sausage with mushrooms, rocket and cream.
We nibbled upon some bread, olives, pickles and arancini, as our dishes were prepared.
Starters arrived promptly and were handed round. My soup was served in an angelic wide-brimmed Mexican hat, which looked rather smart. It had a good, light flavour (the soup, not the hat), and the saltiness of the parmegiano added a good extra note. Alas, it was way too thick. My esteemed fellow geek, Terri, hit the nail right on the head when she asked how my “puree” was. My answer: good, but I would have preferred soup.
I’m not quite sure how the other starters we received around the table. I liked the look of the antipasto. The calamari looked a trifle pale, but seemed light and crispy, and the accompanying freshly made mayonnaise looked interestingly mustardy. The courgette flower fritters looked good, too.
Mains followed promptly. Mine came with a flashback to my last visit. I had, in a vaguely absent-minded fashion, ordered the same dish I ate many years ago. It’s because I like sausage and mushroom, you see. In a moment that was tinged with both pride and embarrassment for me, a pizza shop, that shall remain nameless, got so used to my slurred request for my usual Friday night order that their new signage proudly read “pepperonimushroom” (all one word). Ah, the folly of youth.
Anyhoo, of the other dishes, the bream looked neat and tidy, the calzone looked impressive, and the ravioli looked tempting.
I was pleased enough with my choice, though. The sausage, which is specially made for the restaurant, was very interesting, with occasional burst of flavour as you crushed through a coriander seed. The mushrooms were packed with nutty goodness, also. But there was far too much heavy cream sauce, seeking to unite the elements. It made the dish over-rich and leaden.
Dessert items were sampled, but as you know, I prefer to leave much of the cake and sweet-treat reviewing to our friends over at CakeQuest (doesn’t their new site look lovely!). I had a little espresso, which rounded things out nicely enough for me.
So overall, I like Centotre’s shtick, the room is super-stylish, but their food still doesn’t quite win me over. It’s a little over-priced, but you’re paying a premium for the location and the stylishness, so I don’t have a problem with that. Perhaps it’s just that Edinburgh is blessed with some extremely good Italian places, some of which represent my favourite places to eat in the city. Whatever the case, it’s unlikely you’ll be let down by what Centotre has to offer, but equally it’s unlikely to set your pulse racing.
Blythe scores Centotre
3/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 14.5/20
We were: some Total Food Geeks
We ate: garlic and rosemary bread, arancini, olives, courgette flower fritters, antipasto misto, calamari, cauliflower soup, sea bream, orecchiette, calzone, ravioli, chips
We drank: complimentary prosecco, prosecco, white wine, water, sparkly water, coffees, complimentary limoncello
We wore: geeky weeds
Total bill: c.£210 (7 diners)