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Terra Vergine London – the Best Arrosticini I’ve Eaten?

by Sam Dunham

interior vergine terraAn in , what a novelty! And what a place to spend a lunchtime or evening if you’re having withdrawal symptoms from arrosticini and chitarra for too long or constantly on the lookout for an ‘authentic’ Italian regional .

We were kindly recommended this new Italian restaurant through our Facebook page by a recent guest whose children had declared the arrosticini was better than in Abruzzo, and with such a claim we thought we had to check it out when next in London.

The decor is modern, with a nod to the region via the use of conca converted into light shades. Personally I prefer more intimate dining; I’d say it has a little too large an area to fill in these lean times or for those looking for some cosy dining, but equally optimism is never a bad thing.  Look at those huge wedding banquet style restaurants back in Abruzzo that see action for duty perhaps a couple of times a year, the rest filled with room dividers!

The dishes are simple, authentic with ingredients shipped directly from mostly the province from where the owner Emanuele’s family live and run a chain of restaurants. This is not fine gastro dining, an artisan or a fancy take on slow , but instead a presentation of Abruzzo’s most famous dishes that when the world discovers them go down a treat

Salami & Cheese PlatterWe started with a plate of salami and cheeses.  Portions here are in style and we could understand why they had been flagged-up as too large to the owner when a lot of diners in this area are size 0.  Personally we gloried in it, what a change to have a large platter to dip into in the heart of Chelsea.  We really enjoyed the young with pistachio.   This was followed with one of our favourites Pallote Cacio e Uova ( and egg balls, sadly mistranslated in the menu as meatballs!) that were excellent. A simple but delicate dish but one which can blow you away when you can taste all flavours and aren’t drowning in their sauce.

Pallote Cacio e Uova

Next came Anellini alla pecorara to keep our little boy occupied, which he tucked into with gusto!  That is the first time I’ve seen that on an Italian restaurant in London’s menu!  Full marks here too if you are looking for a child-friendly restaurant in London, the waiters were fantastic in providing entertainment as well great service to adults too.

fungi-tartfuChitarra with fungi turned out to be fettucine but was superb, a succulent meaty mushroom bonanza, fresh black truffle grated generously at the table.  My test was the Sagne and ceci (chickpeas).  Personally I think it could have done with a little more heat but hey we were in the UK, it was hearty and flavoursome and quenched my desire.  Yep we’re that sad when talking about our love of Abruzzo’s foods.  Again portions are large so if you do just want a primo piatto for the average price of £11.50 it’s very reasonably priced.

Arrostcini in LondonArrosticini…  the owner has developed a new fangled way of grilling these  – and I think he could actually be onto a winner.  I love the smokiness of arrosticini, but must admit that I have had some in the past that sometimes have tallow stamped on them.  These were succulent, juicy and gorgeous, great lamb flavour and we quickly wolfed the lot.  Those children’s declaration of ‘best arrosticini’ I think we’d agree with, regardless of how dreadful that sounds.  And believe me we’ve eaten an awful lot of arrosticini all over Abruzzo, but we’re always open to more suggestions!

We finished with a pancake with fresh orange, caramelised sugar and Grand Marnier, a little too wet for me but great flavours to see us on our way.

Terra Vergine Restaurant Terra Vergine Restaurant

442 King’s Road,

London SW10 0LQ

Tel: 020 7352 0491

Opening Hours:

Monday:6 pm – 11 pm
Tues to Sat:12 pm – 11 pm
Sun:12 pm – 10:30 pm

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