Friday 2 December 2011

Locale, East Dulwich Road, south London

One of a small chain of Italian restaurants, Locale East Dulwich does a hearty and competitively-priced three course Christmas dinner for £25 a head plus wine and service. There are about five options per course. Among the starters, the butternut squash soup is a bit bland and you'll need to go heavy on the seasoning. Still, the accompanying bread is very fresh and tasty. For the main course, the lamb shank is a huge piece of well-cooked meat sitting on a big bed of mash potato - it is quite good, but there is too much, and it needs some vegetables and some garlic. After the lamb, the large slice of  tiramsu is pretty intimidating. It tastes good, but looks suspiciously neat and tidy - like it may have been made elsewhere. While the service is attentive, it feels like the staff have one eye on the bill - they top up wine glasses regularly.  Still, the waitresses also make sure you are well stocked with iced water and the East Dulwich branch is a spacious and comfortable place to party. In essence, Locale serves mediocre food in generous portions at reasonable prices. 7/10