Thursday, 3 November 2011
It's always the way. Four days before we leave London for good, and we are introduced to the gold nugget that is Ziani, a Venetian restaurant in Chelsea.
Our friends, Rachel and Dave, fine purveyors of the world's Italian restaurants, go there almost every week and no doubt we'd be joining them if we were going to continue living in the same hemisphere.
The room is buzzing with full tables, chatter, corks popping and flamboyant Italian waiters who greet their regulars with kisses. The warm glow of the room falls across leather banquettes, small crammed tables and picture frames scattered randomly across the walls. The place has character and then some.
I loved it immediately, but it completely won me over when the food arrived. Big plates of pasta are fairly priced - at around £10 or less for entree size (add £1 for mains). My enormous (entree) plate of perfectly cooked fettuccine alle capesante (£10.50) was loaded up with fresh scallops and large chunks of artichoke - delicious. My Saltimbocca alla Romana was gorgeous - 3 generous pieces of tender veal with the comfort of ham and sage, and a large portion of some very Robuchon-esque (ie. heart attack inducing) mash.
There's a large selection of starters, pastas, meats and fish, all of which look superb and met with serious satisfaction from me, TPG and our 2 friends. The boozy tiramisu is also not to be missed.
Ziani is in a quiet street in Chelsea, completely off the radar. With apologies to the locals, this is a new favourite GD recommendation for non fuss, delicious Italian food with a boisterously fun atmosphere to match. About £30+ per head plus drinks and service.
Ziani, 45 Radnor Walk, Chelsea, London, SW3 4BP