I have a really fondly held memory of an excellent meal that regular quester Patrick and I had in La Partenope, many years ago. It featured a sublime seafood platter, and a cheeseboard with a lovely celery and fig jam. It continues to live long in the memory.
Consequently, I’ve been a little wary of a reviewing visit to the place, as I had a feeling that reality couldn’t live up to this nostalgia-laden memory. And sadly, so it proved.
The place was much as I remembered it, styled in a pretty traditional way. The welcome was typically warm, and service was relaxed and accurate, throughout.
Their menu showcased some enticing seafood options, but also covered all the main bases you’d expect from a Neapolitan restaurant.
After a moment or two of consideration, I opted to open with their seafood platter. A spicy sausage pizza was my choice for main. I accompanied things with a glass of crisply fruity house white wine.
The starter was promptly delivered and looked great. It comprised clams, langoustines, mussels, squid rings and a nice scallop, as the centrepiece, all served in a buttery garlic and chilli broth.
The mussels and clams were well prepared, as was the scallop, but the prawns were a touch overdone, and the squid rings were miles over, to the point of extreme rubberiness. This was a real shame, as this could have been a real star of a dish, but execution let it down.
The main course pizza wasn’t quite right, either. I’m all for slightly doughy pizza bases, but this was a little too dense even for me. The topping was good, with the sausage suitably spicy, but the overall effect was a trifle ordinary.
So, a bit of a mixed bag from La Partenope. I maybe didn’t catch the place at best advantage, as it was a bit of a slow, mid-week evening, and I imagine it’s the kind of place that comes alive when there’s a bubbly, busy atmosphere. Whatever the case, the execution on both dishes just wasn’t quite what it could and should have been, so I was left a little disappointed. I figure I’ll give the place another shot, for old times’ sake, perhaps during a busy weekend service, as I have a feeling it’s still capable of producing high-quality dishes.
Blythe scores La Partenope
3/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 13/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: mare nel piatto; pizza alla diavola
I drank: water, white wine, espresso
I wore: Duchamp tie
Total bill: £25.60