Restaurant 500? Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of it either, but it’s an Italian restaurant in Archway (I know right) that always seems busy and as it’s in the ‘Bib Gourmand Recommends’ section of the Michelin guide we thought we’d give it a go.
On our Sunday night visit the place certainly wasn’t busy however. It was an odd space; it had a touch of the IKEA cafe about it and the windows were tinted meaning everything felt awfully dark even though it was daylight outside.
We kicked things off with some deep fried ravioli filled with Pecorino and mint (£2.80) but I’ll have to take their word for it on the filling as they were totally void of flavour. The pasta parcels were actually quite unpleasant as they were so soggy. Next up, some bread arrived with a dozy fly crawling over it, which was ever so off putting.
We both started with a pasta. I went for the Special of the Day; ‘tagliatelle con ragu’ di salsiccia’ (£9.10) – that’s sausage pasta to you and me. It was pleasant enough, not amazing though and it could have done with lots more sausage. My gentleman companion was bored of his trofie pasta with pesto (£9.10) after just one mouthful. It was incredibly bland and the overriding flavour of pesto and nothing else didn’t inspire.
For main, the chargrilled loin of lamb (£17.50) came atop a giant mound of spinach which was sitting in a puddle of water – nice! The ‘coniglio all’ischitana, servito con patate saltate’ (£15.80) which was a rabbit stew, tasted and looked exactly like a microwave meal. The rabbit was stringy and every other mouthful was a splinter of bone or gristle. Both dishes came with sauté potatoes which were soggy, limp and lifeless – which is how I was starting to feel.
Even though the place was dead, our waiter (there was only one) seemed to spend more time chatting with his friend than clearing our empty plates or my empty Coke can which remained on the table for our entire visit. And a can of Coke? It was like being in a cafe. Restaurant 500 taught me one thing – you can’t always trust the Michelin guide.