Lower key (and cheaper) Pimlico Road restaurant from the former chef and the sommelier of Locanda Locatelli which is thought by many to be the best Italian in London. We just wanted something simple and tasty to eat for a Wednesday night and this place was walking distance from my date’s house.
The menu seems to hint that you should do the Italian thing of starter, pasta and main, but we wussed out and went for a selection of ‘small eats’ to share followed by a bowl of pasta each (in the main course size). Our small eats were all excellent and weirdly reasonable in price – the tuscan chicken liver crostini was dangerously moreish (and just £1.95). We also had a generous plate of smoked and cured ham and – my personal highlight – a massive bowl of deep fried courgettes which we couldn’t even attempt to eat all of (for £2.95).
All the pasta dishes are about a tenner, with a £3 supplement if you’re having them as a main. We had the “Pappardelle all` ortica al ragu’ d`anatra” (Home made nettle pasta ribbons, duck ragout) and the “Tagliatelle, prosciutto di Parma e parmigiano” (home made tagliatelle, Parma ham and parmesan sauce) both of which were very tasty. This is the place to go if you love pasta, but usually resent ordering it because “you could make it at home.” When I go back, I’ll definitely be trying the pork cheek ravioli.
We finished with a humble lemon sorbet that somehow managed to be absolutely amazing and I think my date quickly regretted agreeing to share it with me.
The only disappointment was that they had none of the starter queen scallops in stock, and my date had been craving lobster linguine but there was nothing shellfish based on offer in the pasta genre.
The wine list is huge and, dangerously not in price order (!) but has a wide selection. We had a bottle of the 2011 Valopollicella Volpare, La Giaretta which slipped down very easily.
The décor is quite cool – all mirrors and black surfaces and low hanging light fittings. It was also very busy for a Wednesday night, but was largely an older crowd – this is clearly a place for the locals from Sloane Square. The staff are very Italian and the service from everyone was so notably lovely (which I really didn’t expect given the location and style of the restaurant) that it genuinely added to the enjoyment of the night.
If you’re expecting the culinary mastery of Locandi, or even Bocca di Lupo then you’ll probably be disappointed. That said this is really really tasty food, in an impressive environment and is very reasonably priced (according to my date, anyway). We had a perfect Wednesdate. I can easily see this becoming a regular haunt for when I’m feeling lazy but craving high end comfort food or fancy a girly catch up somewhere a few steps above Strada level without breaking the bank.
Go there if…
You want a reasonably priced bowl of tasty pasta in nice surroundings.
Don’t go there if…
Your date cares about the other patrons being bright young things rather than the blue rinse brigade.
If you’re pretending to have been there don’t forget to mention
The olive oil that comes with the bread at the start of the meal is memorably good – so much so that my date and I ended up fighting over the bread basket.
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