I seem to be getting invitations to some great Italian restaurants at the moment. The great thing is that they are in a range of locations so it allows my fellow London based foodies to have a good chance of being located near at least one of them. One of my recent invitations was to an Italian Restaurant called Rossella. Rossella is located in Kentish Town and is a traditional family run Trattoria (Italian style eating place). The food is inspired by the family’s Southern Italian origins, they they believe they have brought a slice of Italian life right to the heart of Kentish Town.
The owner Luca of the restaurant and his staff were extremely warm and welcoming as one might expect from those of traditional Mediterranean origins. He explained to me that his father also had Italian restaurants in East London and that this family business originally started many years ago in Southern Italy and their passion for food has passed from one generation to the next.
Luca seemed to share my love of food which was fantastic. He explained how he began by working his way up, beginning as a waiter, then moving on to washing up. Once Luca’s father Luigi believed he had the basics covered he was then allowed into the kitchen. It was not long after he was allowed into his father’s kitchen that it was clear he had a natural talent and he hasn’t looked back since. He opened his restaurant at the age of 19 and now at the age of 22 has big plans including a refurbishment in the coming year, plans to open a second restaurant of his own, hopefully on my doorstep and also just as exciting – his own recipe book!!!
The family members still in Italy make the olive oil, wine, grappa, meloncello and lemoncello that are used in the restaurant. The other ingredients used are locally sourced and everything was extremely fresh as apparent on tasting the dishes which I am sure you are all by now excited to hear about.
The restaurant was relaxed and cosy and the service was fast which was good as I have been stepping up with the power walks so I was in a word ravenous! Now looking at the menu which was pretty varied (meat, pizza, pasta, fish) I found myself stuck as to what to order as I liked a number of dishes. I managed to whittle it down to three things until I saw other dishes come out from the kitchen that looked so good I had to start again. Eventually and I mean after a pretty considerable length of time I had decided. I will add they also have daily specials to choose from which added to my difficulty in deciding.
Melanzane Parmigianna (from specials board)
Baked aubergine and Parmesan in a rich tomato sauce.
This was a great size portion for a starter as it wasn’t too filling so you got to enjoy the full flavour of the dish as there was a good amount. The combination of the fresh ingredients help give this a gorgeous rich flavour and the cheese is nice and gooey and stretches as you lift the spoon / fork. I do love this dish it has to be one of my favourites and it is best made using fresh tomatoes as it really can influence the flavour. On trying this dish I noticed straight away the intensity of flavours which could only mean one thing – fresh, ripe ingredients!!!! This I was pleased to find was perfectly seasoned, something that not all chefs seem capable of doing in my experience.
Avocado with smoked pancetta, basic and a creamy bechamel, mozzarella and Parmesan sauce baked in the oven.
Now having really struggled to decide between this and the Melanzane Parmigianna I was grateful when my plus one automatically said she wanted to try this. I hadn’t ever tried this dish before and I must say it was pretty delicious. I do love bake avocado it’s a must try for those that have yet to try it. The combination of ingredients in this dish combine well to give a flavourful dish with a smokey, salty, cheesy creaminess which is one that I hope to recreate at home and if I can’t option two is to kidnap the chef for a cookery lesson.
Stinko Di Angelo (Lamb Shank – from specials board )
This combines a whole mix of flavours, textures and nutrients. You get a beautifully creamy garlicky mash which contrasts with the al dente vegetables and the juicy, tender lamb that has been cooked perfectly so that it falls of the bone. The gravy adds to it a richness of flavour and I know that all my friends would have not thought twice about ordering this if given the opportunity. The rosemary brings with it a gorgeous flavour that compliments the dish.
Filetto Di Manzo
Chargrilled steak in a brandy and peppercorn sauce, with sauteed potatoes and chargrilled zucchini.
Now I won’t tell you how long it took me to decide on this dish as it’s embarrassing but once I took my bite bite it I knew it was the perfect choice. I do love fillet steak with peppercorn sauce my problem is that many restaurants can’t get it right, they either overcook the steak, use a piece of fillet riddled with thick pieces of fat which I hate or mess up the sauce. This surpassed my expectations. I think that this has to be the best version of this dish I have ever had other than my own and for that I was extremely thankful and relieved. My husband wouldn’t have complained had I brought him with me. He normally states when he has steak in a restaurant “it’s not as good as yours” but in this case I am sure he would have been impressed too. The sauteed potatoes had a lovely crisp outer and soft fluffy inner and the zucchini was perfectly cooked. The sauce which coated the dish was divine and the peppercorns were not at all overpowering, the quantity was just right. The price of the dish was extremely good for the size of steak and it was perfectly cooked to my request (medium rare). I don’t know any other restaurant that serves such a great portion size for £13.50 – no that isn’t a typo it is really that well priced!
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I had learnt my lesson after visiting Sutton & Sons (not the same plus one) and we both ordered our own dessert let’s be honest who in their right mind would want to share a homemade
Tiramisu with Tia Maria, Amaretto and a scoop of Stracciatella gelato.
This was delicious. I don’t want to make you too jealous so will just go on to say the layering of cream and sponge was well balanced and the alcohol was not overpowering although you definitely know it’s there. The ice cream went fabulously well and I loved that it came with a small pot of coffee that you can pour over.
With my dessert I had a little of the meloncello and lemoncello. Both were gorgeous and I couldn’t resist buying two bottles of the meloncello one for me and one for my dad – he’s almost finished his already so of course I’m going to need to go back for more soon and whilst I’m there I might also have a meal, well it would be rude not to!
I really did enjoy the meal here. Luca was great as he is so passionate about food and I do love to meet a fellow foodie as obsessed as I am. The food was all well presented and prices for the area are more than reasonable. The restaurant is cosy and great for a romantic evening, a meal with friends and of course passionate foodies that enjoy good quality. The restaurant does need a bit of a lift in it’s appearance but do not let that dissuade you from going as you will be missing out on some of the best food I have ever tried. As I mentioned a refurb is on the books! I should add I have eaten in many restaurants around the world – unfortunately well before I started blogging so I am unable to share them with you but who knows what opportunities may arise in the future.
My poor friend was subjected to me trying to decide what I was going to have on my next visit on our journey home as of course there WILL be a next visit the food was that good.
What’s your favourite Italian dish?
We were guests of Rossella and would love to thank them for a lovely evening.
All views are my own as always.