The welcome: Situated in a swanky Earls Court square, nestling in the surroundings of the Hotel Indigo, Theo’s Simple Italian has a rather different feel to his flagship in Park Lane. For our money, it doesn’t have the slightly sterile atmosphere of its big sibling, with a cosy and stylish atmosphere helped by the deli that greets you upon entering. On a quiet Friday lunchtime, there was a faint sense of disorganisation when we turned up (complete with baby in tow), but this was soon outweighed by the sincerity and friendliness of the staff, all of whom were far nicer and more genuine than most we’ve encountered.
The room: A very chic and luxurious affair, full of large leather banquettes that are perfect to loll around in – and bonus points, too, for having plenty of built-in charging points, making plugging in a phone easy. If it doesn’t feel particularly Italian, then that’s no great hardship when it’s this slick and comfortable.
The food: The concept here is that dishes are simpler and more everyday than the complex fine dining of Randall’s other restaurant, and at a more accessible price. As usual, this means that the antipasti and cicchetti are some of the outstanding features of the meal; burrata and tomatoes is as sumptuous as it sounds, but Theo’s bruschetta makes this tired old warhorse feel fresh, just as the calamari fritti tastes delicious. A small but lovely veal, beef and pork spicy meatballs is helped immensely by a little burrata. If you were in the mood for grazing, you could have a light meal here for little more than £20 a head.
More substantial dishes include ‘primi’ of pasta, including linguine with clams, artichokes and bottarga, which is good but not as exceptional as the pasta you can get elsewhere (including at the Intercontinental) and a delicious and beautifully cooked sirloin steak which, at a far from cheap £28, means that there are options for deeper pockets too. Randall’s fantastic Amalfi lemon tart is normally available as a dessert and has to be tried, though my companion preferred her chocolate and orange tart. Drinkswise, things are a bit variable – our waitress seemed surprised when we tried to order a bellini as an aperitif – but the wine list is well chosen and sensibly priced, including some fine and unusual Italian specialties around the £25 - £30 mark.
Kids options: Randall has now designed a children's menu – a three-course affair so kids can feel 'grown up' when dining alongside their foodie parents. For £8 a head, the high quality, wholesome food includes crudités with olive oil, sourdough bread and ciabatta; penne al pomodoro; pan roasted sea bream with zucchini chips, tomato and cucumber salad; and roast chicken breast with sautéed potatoes served with broccoli. The meal is finished in true Italian style with vanilla gelato served with strawberries and raspberries. Junior diners can enjoy a sweet treat by upgrading their drink to an ice cream milkshake, and get their own activity pack on arrival.
Would we go again? Absolutely – although we might stick to the cicchetti and antipasti for the best value experience.
|What||Theo's Simple Italian restaurant review|
|Where||Theo's Simple Italian, Hotel Indigo London Kensington, 34-44 Barkston Gardens, Earls Court, London , SW5 0EW | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Earl's Court (underground)|
01 May 16 – 16 Dec 16, 12:00 AM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book your table|