184 Kensington Park Road, London, England, W11 2ES, United Kingdom

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Rossapomodora is an outlet of an 80-strong pizza chain based in Naples founded in 1998, which has opened three outlets in London so far (from 2006; also in Covent Garden and Chelsea). The décor of the dining room is presumably going for rustic simplicity, with plain wooden floors, exposed brickwork and walls painted white, with minimal adornment. The staff we encountered appeared to be Italian, and indeed the menu makes a point of emphasising the authenticity of the outlet, with chefs apparently from Naples, and ingredients also imported from Campania.

The bruschetta (£3) used regular toasted bread, which they managed to burn at the edges. On top were some cold chopped tomatoes that had very little taste, and dried rather than fresh herbs (8/20). Not a promising start. If the tomatoes really are imported from Italy, then they have managed the impressive feat of selecting ones that have the exact watery tastelessness of British supermarket tomatoes. For a restaurant whose very name is “red tomato”, such poor quality tomatoes on the bruschetta was sad. Perhaps they save the imported ones for the pizza sauce.

The pizza (£9.30) itself was fine, and certainly a cut above most high street chains: the crust could have been better, but the toppings were of reasonable quality and here at least there was fresh basil (11/20). However the pizzas at Franco Manca are in a different league.

Our experience was marred by some truly dismal service. We ordered drinks at the same time as our food, but none appeared. I eventually had to ask no less than five separate times before they arrived, well after our starters had turned up and we had finished. When the pizzas arrived they were set in front of the wrong person, and in fact one of the pizzas was different from that ordered. A side salad did not turn up, and we had to enquire three further times before it turned up, just before we finished our pizzas. The salad itself had the same tasteless tomatoes, a few rocket leaves and crudely prepared red onion slices, so was hardly worth the wait. At the end of the meal the manager at least apologised for the problems, but this was some of the most desperately disorganised service I have ever seen in a restaurant.

In a way it was frustrating that the pizza in itself was rather good, since this makes it less easy to condemn the place utterly. If you do venture in, I’d suggest sticking to the pizza based on my experience, and hope that the staff have changed by the time you visit.

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