Prior to going to see the Pet Shop Boys perform at the ROH we were in the market for not dinner exactly but something approaching it. Having managed to avoid getting cichetti in Venice it seemed a bit of catching up on Italian tapas would be in order.
The room on Wellington Street (there’s another branch in Piccadilly) is unexpectedly opulent with faded mirrors (faded to order or actual antiques I couldn’t work out) and marble all over the shop, and waiters in formal uniforms. So quite Venetian in an over the top sort of way but maybe somewhat incongruous if you’re in t-shirt and jeans.
Having tried to conceal how hungry we each of us was from the other we unwittingly went for a carb overload on the ordering front. Bread and olive oil comes as part of the cover charge and on top of that we got a spicy pizza, arancini, calamari, a caprese salad and chilli prawns. The caprese and the prawns (two big ones on a bed of rocket) were a bit on the meagre side but it was a generous helping of calamari and the stand out was a trio of arancini, moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.
There’s quite a mark up on the wine – a smallish glass of bog standard Pinot Grigio came in at over seven quid – but the service was faultless as was the quality of the cooking.
In a way it was very reminiscent of tourist Venice in that most of its clientèle was from Asia or across the pond with locals thin on the ground. Worth going to for a quick early evening bite but not worth making it your main event.
To see where else I’ve eaten in 2016 go to the GoogleMap here
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).