Right in the heart of Covent Garden piazza lies 21 Covent Garden. A restaurant perfectly primed for anyone finding themselves in central London. Boasting an extensive terrace, as well as indoor dining for the more traditional British weather, the venue offers a traditional Italian menu along with a rather exciting cocktail menu.
Fried Baby Squid
We started our visit with some fried baby squid, served with spring onions and saffron aioli. The dish was presented wonderfully, with the squid and spring onion piled up in a glass, topped with some colourful salad. With a little lemon drizzled on top, the squid packed a fresh punch to the palate, softened by the creamy flavoursome saffron aioli.
The arancini, which consisted of gorgonzola balls served with pumpkin and sage, was also a delight. The warm gooey gorgonzola, trapped in its breaded holder, was a guilty pleasure, and the pumpkin and sage added a touch of balance to the plate. The arancini was also presented beautifully, looking like the balls had grown out of a diced pumpkin and sage garden organically, if such a thing is possible.
Cornish Crab Linguini
For the main course, we chose the Cornish crab linguini from the pasta selection. Served with garlic, lime, chilli and coriander, the linguini was a real winner. Stacked in the centre of the plate, there was a mound of fresh linguini, with the other ingredients interspersed. With the accompanying lime squeezed over the top, the dish packed flavour from all angles, with the chilli, garlic and coriander adding flavour to the fresh crab and linguini.
From the pizza menu, we sampled the Figaro – surely the king of the pizza menu at 21 Covent Garden. Topped with mozzarella, milano salami, parma ham, pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, goat’s cheese, red onion, black olives, oregano and roasted garlic olive oil, the pizza was huge. The toppings were pretty formidable, but luckily we battled through to finish the huge, tasty treat.
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Ice Cream
To finish off, we took on the chocolate chip cookies with ice cream – three stacked cookies with ice cream filling between the layers. The dish was a pretty epic dessert, with the cool, hard cookies there to be smothered in ice cream with your spoon.
Finally we tried the affogato – an espresso, with a scoop of ice cream and a shot of frangelico liqueur. The warm coffee, cool ice cream and sharp shot make for quite a combination. The ice cream cools the mouth, while the espresso warms it with a lovely bitter coffee taste. The frangelico washes both of them down as a wonderful finale.
21 Covent Garden combines traditional dishes with more experimental ones, but is ultimately a worthy restaurant. The food is well prepared, and the staff are engaging and friendly. The location only adds to its charms.
21 Covent Garden21 The Market, Covent Garden, LONDON, WC2E 8RD