My Italian paramour

I’ve fallen in love with an Italian. He lives off Kensington Square and is kitted out in quite garish colours. His name? Locanda Ottoemezzo. Yes, it’s a restaurant and yes, it’s my new squeeze.

I paid my first visit on Saturday and was sold. Ottoemezzo has an excellent service, one of those menus you could order everything from and fun décor. It’s not the cheapest Italian, but not the most expensive either.

It might be standard in Italy to find a place like this, but mark my words, in London it’s quite a gem. Ottoemezzo is up there with Zafferano and Semplice, but is not a fine dining restaurant where waiters hover around you ready to top up your sparkling water glass. Its informality is its strength.

To start with I ordered the king size roasted scallops (am I becoming predictable here?) perched on celeriac mousse, decorated with grilled cherry tomatoes and truffle oil. The special of the day, veal carpaccio was a strong contender but I opted for the lighter option (or so I thought) as I’m nowhere near my Beach 2011 fit body. And never will be either, for that matter.

As I’m not a bonafide signorina and can’t stomach a “primi piatti”, I went straight through to the special of the night: seared tuna fillet. The head waitor recommended this to be cooked rare and this is how it came served too. Perfect. My fellow diners ordered fillet of beef with wild mushrooms, grilled sea bass with cherry tomatoes and courgettes, and risotto with asparagus and saffron served in a Parmesan rind. The latter looked very impressive.

Having being fed a considerable amount of homemade focaccia with a moreish Ottoemezzo olive oil before my starter and main, it was impossible to carry on with dessert. My three (still hungry) friends had the Affogato di Gelati (vanilla ice cream dipped in espresso), but I would’ve gone for one of the homemade cakes (presented on a wooden board before ordering) should I’ve not been so full.

Locanda Ottoemezzo is a laidback sanctuary, perfect for a relaxed weekend dinner, while spotting some goodlooking Kensingtonians. It feels like you’re in some bohemian Italian’s home (Robert Benigni fits the bill) – and that, can never be wrong.


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