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Recently my family and I visited Lincoln which is where we used to live and we had a meal at this restaurant. This restaurant holds a lot of memories for us as it is where my husband took me on our very first date 10 years ago! When we visited Lincoln recently we took a walk along The Brayford and chose to eat here. Although it was a nice meal that we had there were a few negatives to it and it seemed more expensive than we remembered.
The location of this restaurant is along Brayford Wharf. This is a lovely location as it is by the water and there are several boats and even a little tour boat that travel up and down this stretch of water. It is pedestrianised so you aren't disturbed by traffic. There is parking behind this building in a multistorey car park and there is also lots of parking within the town. It is about a 3 minute walk from the main shops, about 7 minutes walk from the station and so is very convenient. If you do happen to find yourself down on the Brayford though you may be spoilt for choice as along this small stretch are lots of restaurants and bars three of which are Italians! Now there is a slight negative with the location of this restaurant now. Previously you had a lovely view right out across the wharf as the frontage of this building is all glass but now there is a building that has gone up and contains a restaurant which is right opposite this. It is smaller than Ask so it doesn't block out the view entirely but it obscures it hugely and is such a disappointment to see. There are no other buildings opposite the restaurants on this stretch so I'm not even sure how it got through planning permission and I can only hope that no more buildings pop up like this which will ruin the outlook of all of these restaurants.
Ask restaurants usually pride themselves in being in unique buildings. This one is unique in that it is beside the wharf and has all glass frontage. It is a very modern looking building on the outside as well as inside. Outside are some little metal tables and inside it is all very open plan and modern. When you step through the doors there are stairs in front of you which curve round, we have never eaten upstairs but have been up there to go to the toilets. Downstairs are two seating areas really one on one side of the stairs, one on the other and all across the back is the kitchens which again is open plan so you can see in. There is a disabled access toilet downstairs which was very useful for us with our children. The tables themselves are set out fairly close together and are very modern- they had randomly positioned large red round, glass balls on then which took up quite a bit of room. We looked inside these balls and there wasn't anything inside, perhaps a tea light should have been in it but even so it was excessively large and rather unnecessary, it did get in the way once our food arrived and we had to start juggling plates. The building reminded me of something you may see in Ikea, it was trying to be very minimal with big bold statements like the large random red ball on the table. It was as detached from Italy as you could possibly get!
When we were given the menu I was quite surprised by the lack of pizzas. Given that it is an Italian I would have expected to have seen the classics on there but there wasn't even an Hawaiian which surprised me. There were about 8 choices including a calzone. It listed that additional toppings were 50p but then didn't state what you could get. You could have typical starters such as bruchetta, garlic bread and so forth and there were other mains including pastas and some meat dishes. There wasn't anything on here that I haven't seen on another Italian menu before but there was definitely less choice than I have had previously. Part of me doesn't think that this is necessarily a bad thing, sometimes it can be overwhelming to see 20 different pizzas but it was disappointing to not see some of the classics you would expect. We all had pizzas of some form. Whilst we were waiting for them to arrive the children were brought some little starters which were free, these includes little strips of garlic bread, sticks of carrots and a dip. This kept them quiet and entertained whilst we waited. They were also given a picture to colour in and some lovely chunky crayons. It was a brilliant touch and a life saver because we had to wait a long time for our food. We waited a good 25 minutes despite being only one of two tables. I don't mind waiting for food if it's just my husband and I but with an 18 month old it can get quite stressful as he won't sit still so really waiting 25 minutes when the restaurant wasn't even busy was not a good start especially as we hadn't ordered a great deal.
I ordered a margerita with pineapple (pineapple wasn't even mentioned on the menu but I asked for it and they had it). When it came it was presented on a wooden serving tray which was a nice touch and hadn't been cut up, it came with it's own pizza cutting roller which was nice. My first thought, however, was how little pineapple it had on. It probably had about 10 pieces over the entire pizza which was rather poor. Hope had her own little pizza which was oval shaped and cut into squares. This was served on a small wooden tray and she thought it was great! It was good that it was cut into squares as it made it more manageable for her to eat. My husband ordered a calzone which looked lovely. We also had a portion of chips and a small garlic bread to share. The chips cost us £2.50 and you didn't get many at all, they were served in a really small bowl which made it look like there were more but actually there were about 8. The garlic bread smelt lovely but was dripping in grease. Our pizzas tasted lovely, they were really thin and had lots of lovely fresh tomato on the base which I really like, I dislike it if all you can taste is cheese so these were lovely.
The atmosphere of this place felt quite formal. I think it was because it was so very white and minimal it didn't make you feel cosy and at ease, more upright and sensible which was a bit of a shame as before it felt more homely. I do think that making it so simple with such clean lines takes away some of the atmosphere that you would like to see. There were several tables in by the time we left and this made it a bit more lively but it still felt like the kind of restaurant where you had to talk quietly and be very polite.
This was a very clean restaurant there was no doubt about that and the toilets were fine too. The staff were really friendly and polite, they made us feel welcome and asked us about our stay and whether we had found things had changed in the seven years since we'd lived there. I did like how polite they were. There isn't a great amount of space between tables which made navigating the pushchair through a bit of a challenge and it also makes it hard to relax when you are up against another family so that's no ideal. Price-wise it was about £10 a pizza which I thought was quite expensive but actually was the same as the other two Italians on the same strip. The glasses are all very modern in interesting shapes which is nice and a talking point. I had a tia maria and coke but it was so filled with ice that it watered it right down and was a bit extreme really.
This restaurant contains lots of memories for my husband and I and I am glad that we went back to it. We did enjoy our food that we had here and the staff were really welcoming. What I do think is a shame is that this restaurant is trying too hard to have a certain look and the result of this makes it lack atmosphere and any kind of Italian charm that you would hope for from an Italian restaurant. It is also a shame how the building has gone up in front of this one which means that the view is now compromised. If you are in Lincoln and looking for somewhere to dine then this is a safe option, it's nice enough and in a good central location by the wharf. There are, however, some better, more individual restaurants in this city which in my opinion are a better experience than this.