To find out that Trip Advisor's No. 1 restaurant in the South East was literally up the street from my parents house in Gerrards Cross, was confusing as well as intriguing. Gerrards Cross has a collection of restaurants ranging from the supremely bad to the very mediocre, so the arrival of Di Paolo, a restaurant that had beat the Fat Duck, the Waterside Inn and even the newly famed Dabbous to the number one spot, turning up in the town, was an interesting turn of events.
Tripadvisor of course, is easily swayed. Fake reviews, and reviews by friends can easily bump a restaurant up the ranks, especially if that restaurant is new. The majority of these reviews however, seemed legit, after ten minutes of whining I managed to persuade Parent One, to wander up the street for a plate of pasta.
The restaurant itself is pretty unattractive. Occupying a space, that had been a short-lived Spanish restaurant, it looks completely unremarkable on the outside and the inside. This is a logical move. Given how long the last restaurant lasted it is understandable that the owners wouldn't want to sink a lot of unrecoverable capital into the space, especially in this economy. Assuming that the restaurant survives, this should logically then improve. Or the owners simply have bad taste.
The menu is a collection of classics, reasonably priced and varied. We started with a complimentary bowl of olives, and bread, which arrived with butter rather than oil, very strange given Focaccia made up most of the basket. The bread was excellent, but the Focaccia could have benefitted from a good dunking in some olive oil.
Up for a quick dinner, I opted for a starter sized portion of Pappardelle with Rabbit. The pasta tasted home-made, though a touch over cooked, and the whole thing was warm rather than piping hot as I would have liked it. The sauce was lovely, a classic tomato, though I wished the rabbit had played a greater role.
The Parent One's Veal Milanese, was perfectly cooked. Well covered in breadcrumbs, lacking grease, with a good crumb to meat ratio - on par with the one at The Delaunay. It was gone within about three minutes, a testimony to the quality of the dish and the occurring football match. Zucchini Fritti, made up the last component, again impressively greaseless, light and airy without compromising on flavour. Full marks for this one.
Along with three drinks (two glasses of wine at near £8 each), the bill came to £64, not exactly cheap for a "quick plate of pasta". However, when we got home we realized that we had been over charged by £4.50, thanks to the addition of an extra beer on the bill. After a wander back up the road, the money was recovered but it was unnecessary and shouldn't have happened, on a relatively quiet Tuesday night when there were only four other tables in the place.
In total, I think it is fair to say that although it may not be the best restaurant in the South East, it does do something to drag up the average quality of the fare in Gerrards Cross. It is also not the best in Buckinghamshire, or even the best in South Bucks, but it is certainly a decent effort with above average food so props to them for pulling off that in a town that seems to kill restaurants faster than David Cameron kills his own ideas.