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La Vecchia Scuola, Low Petergate, York
ATTRACTED by a flier handed out in the street, we decided to sample the £5.95 one-course meal. But be warned. We did not look at the menu displayed at the entrance, making straight for a table in the conservatory.
The restaurant appeared busy because, since it was a warm day, everyone had chosen to sit in the area with its open doors rather than in the numerous indoor sections.
Ann read the one-course menu item by item, exclaiming shock when she spotted that there would be a ten per cent service charge added to the bill.
This would take the cost of a meal to £6.45, still reasonable provided the quality was good.
Then she saw that there was also a note saying that “an order of a drink is compulsory”. Now I was beginning to feel that we had been conned as neither of the “extras” were mentioned on the flier.
The menu was typical for an Italian venue, including green sardines with garlic sauce, spaghetti with garlic and red chilli pepper, an Oro or Tollo pizza, and baked aubergine with tomato sauce and mozzarella.
For an extra pound, there was salmon trout with lemon sauce.
Ann looked no further than the lasagne, which was prepared in a cheese sauce. As lasagne goes, this one was highly rated and fully matched the quality of food we had experienced some time ago when we had enjoyed an evening meal here.
My choice was spaghetti with grilled vegetables in tomato sauce. Any fear I had about the food being drowned in a tomato sauce was short lived. The grilled aubergines, red, green and yellow peppers were enhanced with Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
How did we cope with the drinks directive? Our waiter insisted that we order a drink, which for us at lunchtime would be tap water.
He said as this was free it did not count as a drink. I persisted that tap water was the drink we were ordering and after checking with his manager our request was granted.
Looking round, we noticed that all but one of the customers were drinking bottled Italian water, but why pay for something which is available ‘on tap’?
The flier was clearly attracting custom, as the conservatory remained full throughout our visit, including a school contemporary from my days in Edinburgh.