Just that morning my flatmate was asking about reasonably priced Italian places in London. I was racking my brain, at half past eight in the morning refused to work. Bocco di Lupo, Locanda Locatelli, L'Anima? All bit OTT for your average Londoner in search of a better-than-average bruschetta. Polpo and Trullo probably comes closest but one doesn't take reservations, and at the other trying to get a table at a time approaching normality is a rarity. Plus, Islington is a right slog for us staunch Southeners.
So then, that night I was meeting my father for our usual father-son catch-up dinner and he had booked Alba in Clerkenwell. A quick peruse of the menu showed it to be a mid-priced Italian jobbie with underwhelming choices. My hopes were that the quality of the ingredients would gild the otherwise unimpressive lily. Unfortunately my instinctive apprehension was well placed as it proved to be correct as the food was simply rather forgettable and the interior was a little lacking in style and seemed a little dated. There were several tables of elderly folk tucking into the set menu. I'm not one to bash the elderly, but a general rule of thumb is that if a restaurant has a large number of them, the food is often less than inspiring.