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
|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|