The first thing that hits you upon entering this restaurant is a wall of noise. Justified perhaps given that this is part of a popular chain, with a family friendly menu, located in arguably the busiest part of London and we visited on a wet Saturday afternoon but still, prepare yourself for the sound of chatter and children to assault your ears.
Now this isn’t to say that it wasn’t a good experience because actually, it was. The food was much better than I had anticipated with a menu containing several dishes I could have quite happily gorged myself on. The service was friendly although the staff had that look in their eyes that verges on ‘get them in, feed them, get them out’. It was never reflected in the speech or actions of the waiters but it was still there.
The focaccia was warm and plentiful with a rich tomato sauce that was as delicious and herby as the fragrance of the air suggested.
The chicken burger was declared to be more than acceptable…and this came from someone who prides herself on being quite the poultry connoisseur.
The pasta was well cooked with just the right amount of spicy sausage and salty Pancetta and didn’t fall into the trap of so many Italian places who serve portions so big you wonder if you’re supposed to eat it or live in it.
The salmon was the real triumph of the meal though – wrapped in crispy Parma ham and served on a generous bed of lentils and spinach, delicately flavoured but never overwhelmed with honey and mustard, it was a meal I could easily have eaten all over again.
If you’re after quick service, reasonable prices and food that isn’t crazy or wacky for wacky’s sake but actually modern, tasty and filling, you could absolutely do a lot worse than venturing into Strada.