As a lover of Italian food, and the odd Italian tipple, the menu at Villa di Geggiano in Chiswick was certainly enticing. With many ingredients specifically imported from the villa in Tuscany, we had a feeling that we were heading for a very special evening.
Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the lovely Gordon and Ilona with a glass of chilled prosecco. The perfect end to a long week at work. Our coats were swiftly stored away and we even got a VIP tour of the restaurant with an enthusiastic brief history into the essence of Villa di Geggiano.
This is not just a restaurant, it is part of a grand Tuscan estate surrounded by gardens and vineyards in the Chianti region of Italy. Dating back to 1527, the family who owns it even boasts 2 popes in their ancestry! Villa di Geggiano in Chiswick however, was opened in 2014 and has already built a reputation for their fine cuisine, wines, and role in the local community – which is reflected in the numerous works of art from local artists around the restaurant and the grand piano in the dining room.
After enjoying our prosecco in the eclectically chic lounge we were shown to our table. The table was dressed beautifully with Villa di Geggiano’s very own water glasses! Our waiter for the evening, Alberto, came over and recommended a crisp, delicate glass of Gavi di Gavi white wine to go with our antipasti.
Our first antipasti was salmon marinated in orange and dill with a ginger dressing, and wow! The ginger dressing created a tangy sauce to complement the subtle flavours of the salmon. This was accompanied by earthy pickled mushrooms with sweet pomegranates scattered on top.
How can anyone go to an Italian restaurant and not have bruschetta? We will never know, as we dived straight in. The first of the 2 was a tomato and basil bruschetta on lightly toasted soft bread with perfectly crunchy crust. Often tomato bruschetta can be slightly sour, but these tomatoes were perfectly sweet. The second bruschetta came packed full of flavourful Tuscan sausage draped in sharp Pecorino cheese – yum!
For our starter, we asked our friendly and knowledgeable waiter Alberto what he would recommend. He certainly didn’t need to think too long before suggesting the pappardelle al cinghiale, a pappardelle pasta with wild boar sourced from Tuscany and cooked for 8 hours. This dish was a winner. The wild boar melted in the mouth with a rich intense sauce so full of flavour. All pasta at Villa di Geggiano is freshly cooked every few days by the chefs and cooked perfectly al dente, just how I like it.
To accompany our starters and mains we opted for a Chianti Classico Riserva 2008, straight from the Villa di Geggiano vineyard itself. This organic red wine was full-bodied, earthy and rich, which made for the perfect complement to the wild boar, and with no sulphides!
As Alberto had done so exceptionally well in recommending the starters, we again asked for his opinion for the mains. He suggested the chargrilled loin of venison on a bed of fried polenta, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. A generous-sized venison loin, cooked beautifully pink. Yet again, the meat was tender and cooked to perfection. The redcurrant sauce provided a bold, slightly sweet flavour, whereas the fried polenta gave a contrasting texture whilst still being soft and creamy on the inside.
My dining partner opted for one of the specials of the evening, seared tuna steak with cherry tomatoes and olives accompanied by gorgeously green wilted spinach. The tuna was seared stunningly with the centre impeccably pink. The tomatoes and olives on top created an exciting contrast in flavours and yet, did not overpower the tuna.
After devouring all the amazing food, we weren’t sure we could possibly fit anymore in, but the evening would not be complete without a cheeky dolci! After a lot of inner discussion, I decided on the traditional homemade tiramisu. The mascarpone was creamy and light, whilst the soft coffee-infused sponge was delicious.
As the biggest fan of pannacotta, my dining partner decided not to share this dessert with me (I did sneak in a little taster however). The pannacotta was smooth and silky with a hint of chestnut throughout. The kaki fruit on top added a sweet flavour and light texture to this delicately creamy dish.
As my dining partner was chauffeuring us this evening the honours of tasting the Villa di Geggiano Grappa fell to myself. This delightful digestivo certainly packed a punch but was also the perfect end to the evening.
What makes this restaurant so special is the close ties to both the Villa di Geggiano in Chiswick and in Italy. Fine Tuscan food is served in an exciting dining room where you can find regular live entertainment and work from local artists. We were told that creativity has been nurtured and encouraged by both by the villa and the restaurant alike, which was visibly reflected in its truly unique décor. It is interestingly quirky, a mix of decades and styles but also true to its Tuscan roots.
This eclectic but chic restaurant really is a little bit of Tuscany in Chiswick. From the very beginning we were treated with such care and enthusiasm, and I have no doubt we will be visiting again in the future.
Villa di Geggiano
66-68 Chiswick High Road, London, W4 1SY