Francesco’s

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The plan had always been to head for Windsor at lunch time to pay a visit to my former stomping ground from my days as an employee of a company based in the town, who have offices in the town centre.

After a morning working on a friend’s soon-to-be-released revamp of their company web site and taking a bath in our newly refurbished bathroom – a pleasant novelty as the bath’s been out of action for a couple of weeks which has meant trips to the local gym to shower – I suggested that Reading might be a good idea as an alternative destination as it was closer and it was already early afternoon.

That was a big mistake! Ordinarily I’d expect a 30 minute drive, or thereabouts, to get there but after a very frustrating hour and a half behind the steering wheel in atrocious traffic we were still at least 40 minutes from parking up in the city centre. Time to revert to plan A. We headed back out of Reading, back onto the motorway and 20 minutes later were pulling into one of the town centre car parks in Windsor.

It’s a rather nice town centre with a busy central street – Peascod Street – open to pedestrians only, rather than cars, lined with a good selection of shops, patisseries, restaurants and a pub or two. The street leads up a gentle incline to the top of the hill where Windsor castle, one of the residences for the British Royal Family, dominates the view.

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When we arrived, we weren’t much interested in sightseeing, though, as we were both famished and on a mission to find somewhere nice to have lunch. Windsor’s well served with a large selection of eateries and we settled for an inviting looking ristorante called Francesco’s.

That turned out to be a very good choice indeed, though it took us some time to decide which of the many mouth-watering menu options we were going to choose. We relaxed over a “basket of bread” with oil and balsamic dip, sipping our choice of wine – a very nice vermentino – while we waited for our antipasti to arrive.

Service was excellent and soon my selection – “gnocchi portofino” – arrived. I’ve always enjoyed the small, soft Italian dumplings and this variation came with a pesto-based sauce with chicken pieces in it and a tasty Parmesan crust.

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It was delicious and, as is often the case with me, pictures were taken and shared on Facebook – my timeline’s populated with more than its fair share of “foodie” pictures and posts and it’s nice to share suggestions for nice places to eat amongst my friends. You never know when one of them might be out and about in need of a recommendation for somewhere to eat!

Although we were both hungry, this was lunch rather than a formal Italian dinner so we opted not to go the whole hog and have all the courses that implies and went next to the “secondo piatto”. In my case that meant fish. “Tonno ai pomodorini”, to be precise – a very tasty tuna steak cooked to my liking (rare) and served with Italian style roasted potatoes and a cherry tomato and white wine sauce.

Having a predominantly “savoury tooth” rather than a “sweet tooth”, I’m not often engaged by the dessert course and often skip it in favour of just a coffee and digestif. Appreciating that this was going to be the only meal of the day, though, and being in “the right mood”, I made an exception and opted for the rather yummy “semifreddo al limone”.

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Having eaten our fill and feeling thoroughly relaxed our next pleasant surprise was the bill! Not only had the food been delicious and the atmosphere pleasant but it was also very reasonably priced. Next time we go shopping in Windsor, I think we may well be paying Francesco’s another visit.

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