If you’ve been keeping your finger on the pulse of the London foodie scene, you’ll be aware of the carnival that followed the recent opening of this latest Italian venture to hit Soho. It has been a couple of months since it’s opening and it is ever so busy. They do no take evening bookings, and my first visit was a non starter that resulted in a return visit to Koba. That was eight pm on a Thursday night. We eventually infiltrated the bacaro on a Monday night literally by beating the queue to it at 6.30 pm. No pastas, wine was involved but not the glasses and Mark was entertaining our growing bromance
Established by a former restaurant manager, Giuseppe Turi in 1990, this little known family run Italian restaurant is just beyond the bridge in Putney and finds itself nestled on a handsome corner off the high street
We start with the long bus journey from Waterloo station (bus 77, 35 minutes) past Battersea and into Lavender Hill in search of the supposedly hidden gem of an Italian restaurant. And I’ll take this opportunity to address a topic that’s been brewing among the twitterati of late
Metrogusto Official Site 13 Theberton St Islington N1 0QY 020 7226 9400 £40pp 3 courses no wine In the sweltering height of the April heat, I broke the unspoken code of tap water conduct and plonked for a bottle of sparkling. It was such a hot day, I just wanted something crisp, but without the alcohol. Metrogusto has been on my relaxing eat list of a while now, and I’m glad to have finally made it here. Let your hair down a little won’t you?
Tap. 12.30pm. Tap. Text. Tap. Oliver Thring. Tap. ‘Just setting off now – see you there.’ Tap. I stopped just outside the market entrance, feeling a little jaded as I attempted to follow my iPhone’s GPS lead. And then, it happened, like a tingle in the gut, I sensed the presence of another ‘one’ who obsesses about the tastes and the smells, like me. Bicycle helmet in hand, sun striking a silhouette against his mean bits (too much?) , he uttered, in deep baritone: “You wouldn’t happen to be… Kang?” Yes folks. It is he. Mr Thring has finally landed. We shake hands like two hungry gentlemen and proceeded to fall in line with the masses who’ve come for a pilgrimage. The pilgrimage to eat the best, damn pizza known to Londoners
Salt Yard official site 54 Goodge St W1T 4NA 020 7637 0657 Tapas £6 – 8 each The moist potato paste in the salt cod fritters melted in my mouth with loads of umami goodness. The crunch in the crumbly shell, nice. I was led to the basement bit, away from the shimmering sunshine of the Friday afternoon. I’m not alone for this one, C was waiting for me - fiddling with her brand new iphone (ah yes I remember the feeling). We’re suppose to catch up on Metrotwin, my other online commitment, and we’ve both skipped breakfast (cadbury bar for me) for what is rumored to be a heck of a tapas ride. Oh I should mention, Ben – thanks for reading my stuff and this one’s for you.
The River Cafe official site Rainville road W6 9HA 020 7386 4200 Set Lunch £24 for 3cs £32 for 4cs ; Antipasti £10 Primi £15 Secondi £28 Dolci £7 The tides were low and the shallow waters were shimmering. The oddly perfect spring weather was blindingly surreal as I made my way toward the riverside in Hammersmith. There really couldn’t be a more remote location to house the legendary restaurant - lovingly restored after it’s incident last year – that once trained Jamie Oliver. I was quivering a little as I negotiated the challenging upside down door handle at the entrance. ’Turn left’ it says. Turned. Folks, I’m going in
Bocca di Lupo official site Meal £30 One dish lunch £10 12 Archer Street W1D 7BB 020 7734 2223 Piccadilly Circus ‘The wolf’s mouth awaits you, in the heart of Soho’ said the wolf, from his mouth. Bocca di Lupo is Italian, and the latest breakout sensation to join the London eating ranks. I’m extremely late to the partay (dude, it’s booked out all the time) while critics and foodies alike have formed what appears to be a united front to sing songs of praise to glorify the food here. Even Giles ‘the Coren‘ might have (accidentally) given it a 9.67, which could (allegedly) be the highest score he’s given, ever. Either the wolf has tricked us all or the food seriously is that good. I was there last weekend and these are my pennies
Carluccios Official Site Heathrow Terminal 5 £12pp, £8.50 set menu There appears to be two choices to eat at Terminal five. Italian cafe behind the bag drop and Sofitel which is like a gazillion miles away and tucked inside – inconveniently- a separate building altogether. My flight is in 45 minutes and I don’t want to risk getting lost in the crystal maze that is Heathrow Airport. Folks, you may have noticed that I’m not really here at the moment (Am I ever really there?) because I’m on holiday and I’m blogging on my holiday and my mum keeps telling me to switch off the frigging computer but get this: I am working off her dial-up connection. That’s 56 kbs per second. Do you know how long it takes to load a picture – let alone compose an entire post? That’s called de-di-ca-tion, I may be in grey italics for most of the week, but the ghost in the machine needs his fix every now and again, except this time, I’m not really there. So Italian it is. Do ya feel lucky. Well, do ya
Obika, official site 400 Oxford Street W1A 1AB +44 (0) 870 837 7377 I’m a real sucker for quirky things. I like eating in total darkness and I jumped at the chance to sample a mozzarella bar cheekily tucked away in the middle of the women’s clothes floor inside Selfridges. Before you pass judgement over the author – I’m not a bird watching freak – I’m really here to sample the finest Italian dairy delights
Incanto, Official Site 41 High Street Harrow HA1 3HT 0208 426 6767 Set Lunch £20 , Ala carte £40 Everytime I go past Harrow school, I will think of Harry Potter. The apparently (sorry Harrovians) world leading public school has produced such luminaries as Sir Winston Churchill, Julian Metcalfe … and James Blunt. Harrow is a really posh ( if small ) bit of West London – you’ll see a lot of nice houses with Aston Martins parked in the front, you will also feel like you’ve left the London smog and have entered the Berkshire county. Though its nothing as expansive or relaxing as Windsor, the charming little high street on the hill has a couple of nice looking places to eat. One of them is faux Italian restaurant Incanto. I don’t usually venture this far to find a dish, but my mate celebrated his 7th anniversary with the missus here and told me I could do no wrong at Incanto. It was that good, and so I jumped at the chance to go when I saw the restaurant in the FT lunch offer list. I don’t usually have bad meals, I keep my radar high enough to avoid them but this trip proves there is no such thing as a discount lunch
Alright, as I write this – the Girls Aloud party is on tv now before the results go live in about 10 minutes. The x-factor marketing vehicle keeps the brand turning with rossopomodoro immortalising the judges by….. pizza. Apparently, the managing director of the italian franchise absolutely loves the show and this was her way of showing her love. Actually, food at rossopomodoro is not too bad , I’ve got a friend from Rome who says its ‘good italian’ . So there you go, I’ve yet to review the food, but I’ll have Cheryl on my pizza any day. PS: I’m going to reply the comments to the last two posts shortly. Did you enjoy reading this post? Why not subscribe to my feed updates for free. Alternatively, You can subscribe via email
I have to talk about the interior. Its got really retro, old wood that look like they’ve been up since the 70’s, and one of the things you’ll notice is the cramped space, appropriately cosy. The red walls feature a lot of interesting items with throwback new age artwork, big vintage clocks, mandolins and the ceiling even has what appears to be a vintage fan. It already looks like a nice place to eat.