La Grolla, RM14 2SJ

La Grolla was an Italian restaurant in Upminster. It has now closed. As of late 2011, the premises are occupied by another Italian restaurant called Sorrento Ristorante Italiano.

The information below is retained for people who want to know what it used to be like.

Italian restaurant in Upminster.

It has a kind of old-fashioned Italian-restaurant ambience, with a low exposed-beam ceiling, carved panels on the walls showing grapes on the vine, a dark brown tiled floor, mustard-yellow tablecloths, and white linen napkins. Two or three tables at the front by the window get a decent amount of natural light during the day, but otherwise the lighting is low, provided by smoked-glass lantern-style lights mounted on the walls.

Kake visited late on a Monday lunchtime in June 2009. The place was fairly empty, with only four other customers in during my entire visit. Music was playing; piano/double bass jazz, and something Glenn Miller-ish.

I was offered bread and butter; I accepted, but it was quite unexciting, comprising a few thick slices of indifferent baguette accompanied by butter in packets straight from the fridge. I was also brought some crudites and dip. The crudites (red pepper, celery, carrot, cucumber) initially looked a bit tired but were actually quite fresh and flavourful. The dip appeared to be cocktail/Marie Rose sauce.

I decided to skip starters and go straight to the main event. My first choice, salmone alla zafferano (salmon in a dill and saffron cream sauce, £13.50) had run out, but they offered me john dory as a substitute. Instead, I decided to try the gamberi alla grolla (king prawns in a spicy tomato sauce, £14.50). Sides are ordered separately, so I asked for some spinach (£2.50) as well. They offered me a choice of garlic or plain spinach, and I went for the latter.

The prawns (four of them) were a good size, and decently cooked. The spicy tomato sauce wasn't overly spicy, just a little chilli tingle. It had a good flavour, though. The spinach was cooked very plainly, and flavoured with just a little olive oil, but it was competently done and not gritty at all. I really should have had the garlic option.

Overall, I thought my meal was nice enough, but rather expensive for what it was; my final bill was £20.50 before service. It wasn't made clear whether the bread and crudites would be charged for or not; in the event, the bill included a charge of £3.50 for "BB". This is a little poor; the bread certainly wasn't worth that amount of money on its own, and if they were going to charge me for the crudites then they should have asked me if I wanted them.

Accessibility: Step-free to get in, and everything including the toilets is on the same level once you're in.

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Last visited by Kake, 15 June 2009. Opening hours elicited from member of staff on that visit.

Last edited 2011-10-19 13:12:10 (version 3; diff). List all versions.