Prezzo, Thame….is somewhat tame

Prezzo, the Italian restaurant chain whose only USP seems to be weird artwork has opened a branch in Thame, Oxfordshire.

Prezzo but at what price?

Regular readers know I am not all that fond of chain restaurants, but I was stuck in Oxfordshire on a Sunday night and all the local independent places that had been recommended to me were shut.

The warning bells were first sounded when I examined the wine list.  Then for some completely inexplicable reason, lightning tolled twice.  For the second time in my life I ordered a bottle of Chianti in a wicker bottle.  Why oh why?  Er…. for some reason my brain regressed to the 1970s.  I thought it might be fun!  It wasn’t.

This Villa Domiziano was only £15.95 but was one-dimensional.  The single dimension was measured in cherry lips from the pic’n’mix counter.  Cheap jellies.

What next - a straw donkey?

Wine list aside, the food menu looked interesting.  I selected the Risotto al Funghi and a Pizza Quattro Formaggi.  They say that hunger is a great sauce, unlike the one served with this insipid and bland Risotto.  I had not eaten for two days (due to illness), but the Risotto was plated in seconds and was only redeemed by the liberal dose of fresh spinach and freshly grated parmesan.

The pizza oven looked top drawer but the Quattro Formaggi was sock drawer at best.  The goat’s cheese, mozzarella, gorgonzola and parmesan were companions only in the same way as the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  But war, pestilence and death aside, it turned out to be famine that was the over-achiever after an under-performing meal.

Art for gunkels - weird….

I do think that Prezzo is learning.  Once open a few more weeks it will improve.  But even when it does, it will still be a chain.  A team of imported cheap East European labour waiting staff serving process controlled, McDonalds style factory meals.

I thought that Serbia was close enough to Italy to understand the importance of coffee, but the waitress served my macchiato in a preternatural style.  In most regions of Italy, a macchiato is an espresso with a small amount of frothed milk on top.  In Prezzo, a macchiato is apparently tea with chocomilk and a shake of cocoa powder on top.  Weird and ugly, like my first girlfriend.

It was not all bad.  The atmosphere is friendly, and the building is a fabulous piece of architecture, albeit with offbeat artwork on the walls.

Summary – lovely building, tastefully converted, average formula food, dodgy service.

Prezzo.  2, Cornmarket, Thame, Oxon.  OX9 3DX.  Tel:  +44 (0) 1844 218542.  VAT no (should you need to reclaim):  7606596 07

8 Responses to “Prezzo, Thame….is somewhat tame”

  1. Ciaran Says:

    “tea with chocomilk and a shake of cocoa powder on top” …. that’s number 55 from the drinks machine where I was today.

  2. Harry Says:

    Thame has needed a place like Prezzo for so long! The current independent businesses owners in Thame have little clue about how to successfully run a restaurant so that customers are attracted all year round. Granted service in Prezzo can be a little crooked at times but the staff will learn – at least somebody’s employing the competent. This place is going to be a money maker.

  3. Marcus & Sascha Says:

    As parents of a 4 year old it is nice to have a regular/weekly place to go to……that said we are held hostage to the lack of anywhere else to go!

    If there was a ‘Giraffe’ or a ‘Pizza Express’ or even a ‘Cafe Rouge’ all that would be inside Prezzo would be tumbleweed and the sound of the desert!

    The quality is service station level and in some instance this is doing a disservice to service stations………….but that said I wouldn’t mind owning 25% as at the moment it’s chching!

    But if my oft said prediciton is correct that within 5 years Thame will be like Marlow unless there is a 360 degress improvement ‘Prezzo’ will be stuffed…!!!

  4. Rufus H Says:

    If she was weird and ugly, why was she your girlfriend? Were you desperate or something?

  5. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    I was ugly and probably even weirder. At that age I took what I could get.

  6. Sophie M Says:

    I think that Prezzo is fab! I used to work there! Good grub and a nice friendly place! But the waiting staff have gone down hill but, but thats because I have left!

  7. Phil Donaldson Says:

    I must say, that I totally disagree with your review of Prezzo in Thame. I went there first in May and three times again since and on all occaisions with large-ish family groups (of 8-10 people) found the food well cooked and tasty, the waiting staff very good – especially with young children and the whole experience very satisfying. Maybe you experienced the start-up problems common with a new restaurant and new staff but by the time we started going there, all your gripes had gone. Friends and colleagues have been similarly impressed. Thought I should add my tuppence worth.

  8. Nobby D Says:

    What a nasty, second-rate, cheap-shooting, trying-too-hard little review this is. YOU visit a pizza chain. YOU order an average wine, then complain that it’s average wine. YOU order a mushroom risotto — a dish most bland, even if you ordered it at the Fat Duck — and then [surprise] find it bland. YOU order a four cheese pizza and then complain it doesn’t work in the most cheesiest, stinky sock, way possible. The Four Horsemen are, by their very nature, wonderful companions. And the Eastern European staff criticism is just low.

    Your review bears no relation to what Prezzo Thame currently represents. Next time you are “stuck in Oxfordshire” [oh god, heaven forbid being stuck in somewhere so out of the way] why not give it a second chance?

    On second thoughts, don’t bother — I might be enjoying myself in there and frankly couldn’t stand you making my evening a misery with your ‘pizza chains are so shit’ complaining.

    PREZZO IS A PIZZA CHAIN. WTF did you expect?!

    I’m sure “all the local independent places that had been recommended” to you would be very pleased to receive your custom. Out of interest, what independent places are they? Le Maison? The Thatch? The House of Spice?

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