I’ve heard good reports about Bucci restaurant in Balham. Described as a favourite local Italian restaurant often and recommended widely. I was therefore looking forward to trying it out and tonight we did. Our reservation was at 8.30pm and we, unusually, were on time!

I was so pleased that we’d booked a table as when we arrived there wasn’t a seat to be had in the place. Obviously a very popular choice. There was a large party of Italians on two of the big tables – clearly a family gathering of some sort as the ages ranged from a few weeks old to Papa! What became evidently clear however was that this family had priority in the restaurant tonight.

We quickly ordered a bottle of wine from the comprehensive wine list… not too many but a great selection to choose from. Shortly after the wine arrived we sought out a waitress to order our food. Orders placed we waited, watched and chatted amongst ourselves. It was quite some time when we needed to replenish the wine on our table and it was at this time that we started to hear our tummies rumbling. Service was slow to our table but I was able to see that the family party were being well catered for! It didn’t really matter except that we were now very very hungry and getting a little pissed! Somewhat annoyingly after waiting for an hour and a half from when we ordered our starters I had to approach the ‘serving’ area to find a waitress and ask how much longer we would need to wait before our starters arrived. Told a few minutes I went back to the table. Some minutes later another waitress approached our table and asked if we were waiting for our main courses – she seemed somewhat surprised when I said we were STILL waiting for our starters! Another bottle of wine was ordered. Disappointing that there wasn’t any apologies for the delay.

Following this our starters arrived and shortly after clearing the plates away, our mains. We were offered desserts and coffees relatively quickly afterward too…. but by then the large family party had left the restaurant (as had many of the other diners). It wasn’t long until we were the only ones in the restaurant.

What a shame the food took so long to arrive and we felt somewhat neglected by the staff. The food was fabulous. We all commented that our choice of dishes was exactly as we’d wanted. Great flavours, good portion sizes and, tasting, authentically Italian.

I’m sure we will return… but perhaps not on a busy Saturday evening!

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