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A Cena’s Express Lunch

September 14, 2013

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It turned out to be a truly ‘single gourmet traveller’ affair when my friend Kate was so seriously delayed that I ended up eating alone and she promised to arrive in time for coffee. But the lovely A Cena is so familiar to me, and everyone working there, that it feels almost like ‘home’ so I was happy to carrying on ordering and enjoy their new Express Lunch menu at a bargain £10 for two courses plus coffee.

It’s a simple menu: a Summer Salad with Parmesan to start followed by a choice of either Fusilli with Tomato, Basil & Parmesan or Gnocchi au Gratin – Baked Ricotto Gnocchi with Spinach, Gorgonzola, Cream & Parmesan, with a choice of coffee to end. The salad when it arrived was a plate of lovely, fresh peppery rocket covered in finely grated Parmesan.

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It’s a very simple dish, of course, and you may well be thinking, I could easily do that myself. But it’s the perfect dressing, the way it was put together with the best ingredients that made it special. It was really fresh and delicious. For my main, I chose the Fusilli.

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Again, this is simple but the tomato sauce was wonderful, coating the pasta beautifully, a cloud of finely grated Parmesan had been dusted over the top, whole wilted basil leaves curled within the dish. Finally an espresso; and a very good espresso it was. Then Kate arrived and more coffee came. We talked happily until I reminded myself it wasn’t home and maybe we should leave and allow them to close up for the afternoon.

What a bargain. You could easily spend £10 in a chain sandwich shop buying a snack and drink, yet at A Cena you can have a beautifully cooked simple meal, sit in comfort and enjoy something a little bit special at lunchtime. And Kate and I already have  a new date in the diary to go back together to enjoy another taste of Italy one Friday lunchtime.

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