I'd never been to Prego before, and neither had Jay, though Linda had assured us both that it was phenomenal and one of her favourites. Since she lives south the river, I had to believe her because it wasn't a close location for her to get to.
We arrive for our Tuesday night booking at 6.30pm and I take note immediately that most tables are filled, and the rest would soon follow. For an early time and a weeknight, this is a great sign I think! The decor is beautiful and simplistic. Very low lighting with windows surrounding the entire dining area nearly. The cold weather outside and the bodies inside leaves those windows steaming up like that scene in Titantic!
It did surprise me slightly that it was wholemeal bread, which Linda then advised me the last two times she'd come it had been white. Not that I minded, as I only eat bread when buying food so it was still a treat for me!
I steal a bite of the risotto and it's deliciously al dente, with just the right amount of bite to the rice. The saffron is present in the colour but not so much in the flavour, though I do really enjoy the creaminess of the rice. For Jay, it's his first time trying scampi and he loves them, popping the meat out of the shell and munching away.
While I'm not quite sure risotto should ever be charged at this high a price, it was good to see that they weren't stingy with the accompanying seafood.
Here at Prego, the gnocchi dish was Gnocchi in Pumpkin Cream with Cherry Tomatoes and Proscuitto ($27). Just the description alone was enough to get me excited, let alone when the dish came out!
Forgive the photos by this stage the restaurant was getting very dark and I'm always too shy to use the flash, but I think you'll get the point of how yummy it looked.
These days it seems that pan fried gnocchi is all the rage - and don't get me wrong, I am a sucker for that kind of dish, but there's something quite special about boiled gnocchi too. These ones are light and viscous pillows of ethereal potato, folded gently through a sweet pumpkin cream. There's a good amount of parmesan on top, plus some fresh herbs to bring some colour and extra flavour into it.
I really like the use of the salty proscuitto slices torn and scattered throughout, which offset the richness of the sauce. The cherry tomatoes burst with sweetness and vivacity, renewing my palate every so often. I enjoyed this dish a lot... but I did get extremely full from the large serving! I think I rolled myself to the car.
When it came to the conclusion of our meal, we're all too full to consider dessert so we call it a night. And with my entertainment card, we received a nice 25% off the bill which I guess you could say was our sweet ending.
It was a great evening, with home style Italian cooking presented in a modern setting. I can see why it has been getting rave reviews from those I know who have been. To them I say thank you - which seems so fitting since Prego in Italian means 'you're welcome'.