Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Sicilian Express

The Sicilian Express

Location :
Timog Avenue, Quezon City
Cuisine : Italian
Menu Price Range : Php 120.00 - Php 250.00
Service Charge: none
Rating : C-

Nestled in the heart of Timog, The Sicilian Express was flanked by variety of eateries, making it a bit difficult to find. Its colors were standard Italian fare, making its facade somewhat generic and humdrum. The Sicilian Express' interiors were similarly nondescript: with subdued colors and furnishings that are more functional than stylish.

Upon entry, the first thing that caught my eye was a large mural that depicted a whimsical Sicilian mobster theme reminiscent of Lupin or the Blues Brothers. Their menu was similarly themed, but it failed to carry over to the uniform of the staff or the rather unremarkable furnishings, leaving a disjointed environment that felt rushed and uninspired.

The condiments were what you expect from a pizza establishment: the obligatory hot sauce, Parmesan cheese, crushed chili peppers, pepper and salt. Despite the humble trappings, I had high hopes that the modest designs would harbor a great find, but I was sorely disappointed.

Mushroom and Garlic Pizza
Price: Php 205.00 (Regular) Php 295 (Xtra Large)
Rating: C

The toppings were unremarkable and a bit stale to the taste. The cheese didn’t stand out and the sauce was dry and dull. The crust, despite being crunchy, lacked flavor as well – having the same consistency as a budget or microwave pizza. It took a heavy helping of hot sauce, chili peppers, and Parmesan to infuse some flavor into it, but even then, it felt lacking.

To its benefit, the portions were sufficiently large and it was served hot from the oven. The pizza was filling and, for its price, it's a cost-effective meal for a large group who aren't too concerned about the rather bland taste.

Chicken Scampi Pasta
Price: Php 130.00 (Solo) Php 185 (Double)
Rating: C+

The pasta fared a bit better, but was similarly unremarkable. The noodles were prepared adequately, being neither limp nor undercooked, but the sauce left me wanting. As with the pizza, the condiments only helped marginally giving the impression that the pasta sauce was pre-made and simply reheated. The chicken bits were a bit stale and lacking in flavor as well.

Creamy Chicken Soup

Price: Php 60.00
Rating: D

To my disappointment, the soup was served lukewarm and wasn’t as creamy as I’d liked. In fact, it was a somewhat watery and tasted prepackaged or overly reheated - reminiscent, in many ways, of canteen food. For Php 60.00, the serving was also surprisingly small.


Food: Rather unremarkable; lacking in flavor. Not necessarily bad, but not great either.

Ambiance: The mural and menu helped somewhat, but this theme failed to pervade the establishment, giving the impression that the place was unfinished or fell short of full conceptualization. This was probably because the establishment touted itself more as a delivery service rather than a casual diner.

Value: The menu prices were reasonable, falling somewhere in between fast food and casual dining. Some items, like the pizza, were relatively inexpensive, but others, like the soups, seem overpriced.

Service: Considering we were the only ones in the establishment, it’s difficult to gauge the level of service. The staff was courteous, falling just short of being friendly and the food was delivered promptly, but as we were the only customers, it’s hard to tell if a packed house would have produced the same results.

Overall: If you’re with a group of friends and are looking for a budget pizza parlor then The Sicilian Express is a reasonable choice. Their menu has most of the items you’d expect, but nothing really stands out. There are no truly original concoctions exclusive to the establishment, but it wouldn’t matter, as everything down to the condiments were fairly generic. The Sicilian Express is a step above fast food, but barely that.

© 2008 Pablo Bairan

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