A rare Sunday night out. Went to Maldini cos Marque IV wasn't open.
The thing about Maldini is that at first glance it is a classy old building with funky big colours on the wall. The second thing about Maldini is that it doesn't pay to look too closely. An overdose of men's bodies with red shirts flapping from their heads adorned the walls, along with a very ugly Venetian festival image and an even uglier red Venetian mask. Sometimes I think plain sandstone has a lot going for it.
The menu was fairly standard, although a couple of interesting options stood out. Couldn't resist the chargrilled sardines on a caremelised onion tart. Really tasty. Actually, really big flavours. It was classed as an entree (although you can order it as a main size). I can't imagine that anyone could face a second course after the robustness of this dish. I liked it, but glad I wasn't staring down the barrel of pork chops or an eye fillet to follow.
I knew I was ordering a tastebud-busting dish, so ordered a garden salad to break it up a bit. Unfortunately, the salad seemed to be last night's antipasto left-overs tossed through some salad mix. It was tart and sweet and completely wrong. As there was no alternative to provide a bit of flavour freshness, this was flavour over-kill and very disappointing.
On a positive note, my eyes greedily followed plates of seafood pasta around the room all night. I spied big mussels, clams, prawns, and so on jutting perkily from bowls of herb-tossed pasta. Defintely worth going back to try these dishes on for size.
Verdict: Maldini passes muster foodwise (except for that stupid salad), but food service was very slow (the very professional and friendly waitstaff looked as frustrated as I was), and interior decor could do with an overhaul. Coffee was better than I remember. I'll go back to try the seafood pasta.