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TREATING ourselves to dinner seemed like the perfect way to round off a day on the Isle of Wight.
We’d heard that Pavarotti’s in Shanklin was popular, an opinion shared by the bartender of the pub we were in discussing our meal options.
Indeed, he thought we’d be very unlikely to be able to get a table without having booked, so popular is the restaurant.
When we arrived it was, indeed, busy but we were located a table on the top floor.
On the one hand we were grateful to have been seated but on the other it wasn’t exactly a great spot. The round table was so small that it could barely accommodate two open menus. What’s more it had a large base which meant we had to splay our legs uncomfortably round it.
It appeared the upstairs hadn’t been decorated for some time, other than some stairs that I found myself facing which had been half painted before someone stopped and decided to fill the space underneath with black bin sacks while my sister ‘enjoyed’ a view of the dirty plates which had been removed from tables but not quite made it into the kitchen to be washed up.
However things improved when we looked through the menu.
Pavarotti’s offers an extremely wide range of Italian dishes, boasting some 20 pizza and 19 pasta options as well as ample meat and fish choices. What’s more, as my menu informed me, all the meat comes from Isle of Wight and Hampshire farmers.
I was delighted with my starter – avocado with stewed sweet onions (£4.95) while my sister’s thick minestrone soup (£3.50) was also a good choice.
However the service left a little to be desired as no pepper was offered and there was none on the table.
For my main I had a somewhat disappointing penne arabiata (£8.50). It was a large portion and tasted pleasant enough but although it may have had chillies in it, it didn’t have the hot flavour that you expect from this dish.
My sister was happy with her pollo aglio limone (£11.95) – chicken with fresh lemon and cream sauce which came with a choice of vegetables, salad or chips.
But overall it was a disappointing evening. The food was OK, the prices were OK, the presentation of the restaurant and the service weren’t.
The restaurant was still busy when we left so clearly it has something to attract customers back time and again but I won’t be amongst them.
Pavarotti’s is at 115 High Street, Shanklin. Contact: 01983 863528.