It’s been a while since I’ve made a Bookatable blog appearance, and wow, what a way to come back! I think it is fair to say that during my 3-hour, immensely enjoyable visit on a bustling Friday evening, I tried a good portion of the menu at Osteria dell’Arancio, and it is definitely a restaurant I hope to return to. Think fresh, authentic ingredients, strong flavours, and the most relaxed, warm and welcoming service and atmosphere.
We were lucky enough to be treated to the Head Chef’s choice of dishes, accompanied by some amazing wines, kindly chosen for us by the very knowledgeable sommelier. Let’s dive straight in, and start with our antipasti selection, which included 4 tasty dishes, all served with a Pinot Grigio Rouco dei Tassi.
We began by digging into the Formaggi Regionali, which included great hunks of creamy buffalo, smoked, and fior di latte mozzarellas.
Gazpacho with roasted king prawns & celery
In between cheeses, we tried a Vitello Tonnato, and a gazpacho with King prawns – both full of flavours, and enjoyable even for me as a non-fish fan! That’s an achievement!
Burrata cheese with warm cherry tomato sauce and fresh marjoram
Finally, my top pick from the antipasti selection, was a dish of burrata cheese with warm cherry tomato sauce and fresh marjoram. The warm, creaminess of the cheese against the sweet cherry tomatoes…I could have finished the whole thing off, but knew that wasn’t a sensible option with more courses to follow. It’s a shame, but sometimes you have to go with your head over your heart.
This array of dishes was followed with what I think was my favourite course of all: the PrimiPiatti, accompanied by a glass of Cerasuolo di Vittoria – Cos Classico.
Risotto with tomato sauce & rocket pesto
We started with a risotto with tomato sauce and rocket pesto. The tomato flavour was surprisingly punchy, which I don’t feel you always get with a risotto, and the pesto very mild and smooth.
Following on from this, we came to one of the simplest dishes of the night – Truffle Tagliolini. The pasta was cooked only in butter, and topped with piles of truffle shavings, but the flavours were so rich it was hard to believe this was all there was to the recipe!
The last dish of this course was one of the chef’s specialities. It has been on the menu for 8 years, and once when he tried to remove it, so many people complained he had to make it a permanent feature. Tomato sauce, spiced with n’duja, covered thick ribbons of pappardelle, the spicy kick cooled by satisfying blobs of caprino cheese. It’s everyone’s favourite, and has to be tried.
Roasted chicken marinated with lemongrass, chilli & lime served with peppers
That’s not all folks. We also sampled delicious roasted chicken, marinated in zingy lemongrass, chilli and lime, and topped with sweet, soft peppers.
Vitello alla Milanese
Alongside this was a traditional and tasty Vitello alla Milanese and, of course, more wine – this time a lovely red glass of Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo.
Nectarine and peach in marsala wine with lemon granita
Now, we definitely didn’t need it at this point, but in the name of a well-rounded review, we had to try dessert. We were presented with a tiramisu, made with a marscapone mousse for a perfect lightness, and a mango & nectarine fruit salad in masala wine, topped with a zesty lemon granita. Incredibly light and refreshing, the fruit was a lovely end to a fantastic meal.
On top of the incredible food and wine, and though this post may get quite long, I absolutely have to mention the atmosphere of the night. As soon as we arrived, the staff greeted us with open arms and Head Chef, Pierluigi Sandonnini, served us himself. It was all so good that it did cross our minds that maybe we were getting special treatment as bloggers, but chatting to a table of regulars next to us soon revealed that this is just how things are done. The restaurant staff, all Italian, welcome their guests like family. Osteria dell’Arancio is a popular, busy place that people come back to time and again, and I plan to join them!
383 Kings Road, London, SW10 0LP