You must order the eggplant parmigiana with brinjals, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella that will make any lactose-intolerant diner cry with cheesy envy. The dish is incredibly rich, enough so that a group of six can order bread, share the portion and still feel satisfied. Another starter goodie is the carpaccio, which a guest at the table got so involved with that he forgot to pass it around. The sliver I managed to steal was a delicate blast of perfection.
If you’re gluten intolerant there are gluten-free bases, all elegantly thin crust. Even the foccacia with garlic is a treat and the smack of freshness from the smoked salmon salad complemented with capers, onion and avocado keeps anyone watching their waists happy. They could hold back on the iceberg lettuce, though.
Fifteen pastas – including leeks, gorgonzola and butternut, or pancetta and peas in a creamy parmesan sauce – and a choice of even more pizzas with toppings make for an exciting variety.
Round off your courses with a peanut butter cheesecake.
The wine isn’t cheap, but medium-bodied quaffs like the Neil Ellis red even on a balmy evening are perfect for Italian ingredients like tomatoes, to cut the cream and enhance meatier flavours.
The service isn’t slow but don’t expect waitrons to fuss about you. However, the slowness of the place adds to the charm and makes you eat as if you’re away from the pressures of city life and timekeeping. Just be patient and enjoy your food and company.
They won’t win awards for the décor but you’ll certainly remember the food, which is the important part. We bumped into many familiar faces, many of whom have been dining for years and come for their favourite repeat pleaser. Inviting and casual.
The magic of the place is that it consistently delivers dishes any Italian mama would be proud of. And that there’s always at least one regular you can ask for recommendations.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their own meals. Read our full editorial policy here.