It’s entirely possible to have a great plate of pasta in London–yes, London.  

The city has effortlessly shaken off its mantle as a haven for forgettable and bland food and transformed itself into a global, culinary powerhouse, and easily taking on the Capital of the World, New York City, in the process.  One can meander throughout a number of neighborhoods and find very good-to-excellent Brazilian, French, Italian, Moroccan and Spanish cuisines, to name just a few.

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© David-Kevin Bryant

And the city’s pub menus should not be overlooked either or under-estimated as great burgers and chips, and affable company, abound.  To wit…

We happened to walk past Zizzi Ristorante on Bayswater Road (Notting Hill Gate) one cold and blustery night and stopped dead in our tracks as the smell of warm bread enticed and seduced us.  We didn’t even bother looking in the windows–no, we walked right in and asked for a table.  What a fantastic and unexpected surprised it turned out to be.  The charming and family friendly restaurant has a warm and inviting feel.  After promptly being seated, we glanced at our menus and were impressed with the variety of dishes and the emphasis on fresh ingredients.  After much deliberation, we decided on :

― Arancini.  Risotto balls with mozzarella, peas and a breadcrumb coating, and served with a chunky tomato peperonata dip.

― The Skinny Pizza, topped with artichokes, goat cheese, peppers, roasted aubergine, slow roasted tomatoes and olives.

― Spaghetti Carbonara, with pancetta, parsley, thyme and wild mushrooms.

― Chocolate Tartufo, a rich, dark chocolate mousse served with crushed hazelnuts and amaretti biscuits and a dash of Frangelico liqueur, finished off the meal.

― Tiramisu, an espresso and liqueur-soaked sponge cake with layers of Italian mascarpone and cocoa.

The entire meal was very, very good but the spaghetti carbonara was the stand-out.  It was, unequivocally, one of the best plates of pasta I have ever enjoyed.  And I’m a pasta snob (it’s in my genes.)  The service was wonderful, too.  We enjoyed the meal so much we returned a couple of days later, on yet another cold and bitter night, only to find our first visit there was clearly no fluke.  Our second experience was as enjoyable as the first and we cannot wait to return.  I recommend the restaurant highly.

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© David-Kevin Bryant

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