Italian at Vicino, Fulham
|Vicino, Fulham's neighbourhood Italian restaurant|
Italian cuisine has always been on my favourites - you just can't go wrong with a big plate pasta! The problem living in Central London is that it tends to be more the big chain Italian restaurants that I am able to easily get to. Don't get me wrong, I love a good Pizza Express/Ask/Bella Italia, but sometimes you do want somewhere just that little bit more authentic. Introducing... Vicino!
|Authentic Italian interior|
Established in 1987, Vicino stays true to classic Italian cooking and prides itself for staying original, not led by trends or fads, maintaining a traditional Italian kitchen. Head Chef Marco Moscoloni began his career in his home region of Le Marche, before moving to London where he established himself working as Head Chef at a number of top London restaurants including Marylebone's Caldesi, Mayfair's Dolado and Belgravia's Convivio. Describing his cooking style as "traditional Italian but with a contemporary twist", my friend Natalie and I were very keen to try this one out!
|Always happy when 'forced' into a cocktail!|
As we entered, we were greeted by what had to have been the most happy waiter I have ever me - he practically danced us to our seats and handed us over the menus, convincing us we HAD to have a cocktail. OK, Belini's it is then!
As we sipped on our drinks and nibbled on the fresh bread and olives the waiter brought to our table, we had a look through the menu - no limited options here, there was a lot to choose from!
To begin, I went for the monthly special, Tuna Carpaccio with fennel, paprika and Sorrento lemon oil. Based on the reviews I'd read about Vicino, I had high expectations - and the huge dish of freshly caught, thinly sliced tuna that I received certainly didn't disappoint!
Equally as delicious, Natalie went for the 'Prosciutto e Fichi' - parma ham with fresh figs, goat cheese crumbled & aged balsamic. Fresh, flavourful and light, even with the generous portion sizes, it was the perfect way to begin our Italian feast.....
|Parma Ham Salad|
|Ready to dig in!|
When it came to mains, we had a tough decision on our hands! Whilst the "Grigliata mista di Pesce" (aselection of grilled seabass, squid, king prawns & swordfish) sounded very appealing, I knew that, at an authentic Italian, if I didn't order pasta I would seriously regret it!
After deciding on the "Linguine al Nero di Seppia con Gamberi, Capesante e Limone" - i.e. black ink squid linguine with prawns, sea scallops, baby squid, lemon & chilli - I nearly had to go back to the drawing board when the waiter informed me that, unfortunately, the squid ink linguine was unavailable. But fear not, he could still produce the dish with regular linguine. Yes, I'll have that one please! And he was even happy to tailor it to my request by bounding it in a rich tomato sauce. I don't know about you, but to me pasta just isn't pasta without it.
Natalie, on the other hand, went for "Tagliolini Speck" - delicately thin egg pasta, mushroom, speck ham & truffle shavings. This was the dish that was recommended to us by the company PR agency...and we can see why! With a distinctive and flavourful taste coming from the unique yet complimentary combination of truffle shavings and creamy sauce, it was definitely worth the indulgence.
The pasta was perfect, al-dente and firm to the bite - you don't get authenticity like this at Bella Italia,. With it tasting so good we didn't dare leave a speck on our plate...
|Desert menu - too tempting!!|
However, we came to regret this when we saw the delicious desert options....dammit, why didn't we leave any space?! With the menu looking farrrrr to good to skip, we decided to share a 'lighter' option (or so we said in order to justify it!) of the Chocolate and Passionfruit Cheesecake.
|Chocolate and Passionfruit Cheesecake|
A digestive base topped with a white chocolate cheesecake and decorated with a zingy passion fruit topping, it was the perfect way to end our meal.
|No wonder we're smiling!|