Best Part: The Lunch Deal!
Now, we’ve been down this route before, complaining about a place because it has stepped into the shoes of a beloved but now departed restaurant. In this case Per Tutti is occupying the space that in our hearts is forever Singhli, the Indian Street Food restaurant. That we never proclaimed our love for Singhli in these dispatches is due to the fact that they were not open at lunch-time (possibly why they are no longer here?), but it was ace, and it has taken us a long time to work up to visiting it’s replacement. Heaven help whoever moves into the late lamented Panko’s pitch.
Still, I’m glad we put all that behind us, as Per Tutti is a pleasant addition to Holywell Hill. Now, St Albans needs another Italian restaurant as much as it needs a new Thai place, but Per Tutti claims to have ‘The Best Lunch Deal in Town’, so we would be remiss in out duties if we didn’t check this out. This is quite a claim when you realise it is up against L’Italiana, La Cosa Nostra, Zaza and (shudder) Jamie’s Pizzeria, just considering other pizza-based lunch deals. You could theoretically have pasta as well, but for us they remained a theory.
None of the starters particularly appealed to us, but we did bump up the deal with a shared bread basket. This was properly lovely, but hot chunks of bread seemingly fresh from the oven and perfect for a chilly winter’s day. What is more, they trusted us enough to leave us with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottles, meaning we were spared that annoying moment when you are jousting with your companion’s bread to sup up the precious last few drops of oil.
For my main I went for a Diavola pizza, the toppings including chicken, pepperoni and chillies. I do think that you can tell at first glance of a pizza whether you are going to enjoy getting to know it or not, and when I saw my intended I knew I was on for a treat. The cheese was an inviting molten yellow, collating into occasional glistening pools around the chunks of chicken or pepperoni slices. The base was doughy and crispy without tasting burnt. The tomato sauce maybe let down proceedings somewhat, being a trifle bland and lacking in bite, but overall I would rate this as the best pizza within a meal deal (without necessarily being the best meal deal).
Mrs Midweek lunch was delighted with her Fiorentina pizza which she chose without the egg. She felt it lacked something, probably the egg in fact. Overall she had a slight preference for the Cosa Nostra pizza but still rated it one of the best in town, certainly streets ahead of Jamie’s pizza, even though Per Tutti is physically lower down the street.
The look of the place was fairly standard referencing to Italian landmarks with a few nice touches, we especially enjoyed the lampshade made of corrugated cardboard, and being early we were able to nab the prize seat by the window. My wife admired the black and white toilet decorations but would have preferred there to be more than one. For most of our meal it was just us and the waiting staff, which can be awkward but they handled it well. Then, of a sudden, it seemed like the entire population of the nearby school came in together. This was slightly unnerving, I don’t think school children belong in any dining establishment that expects the diners to sit down, but they all seemed well behaved if a trifle loud. I would recommend visiting this place early in the lunch hour, but I would certainly recommend visiting. I for one would be very happy to return, hopefully for their intriguing looking steak night.
And one final thought. If anyone wants to open a new restaurant in St Albans could you consider not making it an Italian or Thai restaurant. We are pretty set for those. How about considering the cuisine of the Americas? A nice Cuban joint could do very nicely, or some Creole or even Alaskan. Just a little bit different. Might be nice. Anyway…