Kitchen Italia, Westfield Shepherds Bush
Westfield, Shepherds Bush opened a few years ago with rave reviews. It’s a well laid out shopping centre within easy access of most of London and the South East and has almost all the shops you might ever need. Beside the shopping element, as you might expect there’s a huge range of places to eat so to stand out, a restaurant needs to offer something special.
In the case of Kitchen Italia the proposition is that all their food is freshly cooked to order. Their menu, of pizzas, pasta and chef’s specials is comprehensive with traditional Italian dishes alongside options like ribeye steak and chips. The restaurant is laid out for communal eating with long tables and benches and there’s a pretty terraced and covered area outside (no smoking allowed), where we sat and enjoyed the very English and rather wet summer!
Our starters were a meat platter and vegetable terrine. Both cold dishes, we were a little surprised that these took some time to arrive. The dishes were prettily presented and there was a reasonable selection of meat on the platter.
Now, here’s where tastes differ. I wasn’t that keen on the aubergine wrapper that formed part of my terrine. It had obviously been oven baked and for me was just a little dry and lacking olive oil. My dining companion tried it and loved it, for exactly the reasons I was finding fault! He said that he really didn’t like aubergine cooked in oil and much preferred it as served to me!
Our main courses were a carbonara and a goats cheese and red onion pizza. The goat’s cheese pizza gets a 7/10 from me, mostly because the olives were really not up to the quality of the rest of the dish. Once you stone olives they start to lose taste and texture and for that reason I tend to avoid using pre-pitted olives in my own cooking. The pizza base was great and the red onion and goats cheese mixture nicely balanced. I was impressed by the flavour of the carbonara, it had clearly been freshly made and used an authentic tasting Italian sauce (carbonara should be made with egg yolks and NO cream) rather than the glue like dish I’ve been presented with in the past.
There were a few things which didn’t quite work for me. For example, I’d have like to see the parmesan freshly grated on request, rather than sitting on the tables when we arrived. And, it seemed a little counter-intuitive given that the main proposition of Kitchen Italia is freshly cooked food. Service was very attentive but the delivery of the dishes was just a bit slow. Even if you are cooking everything to order, 30 minute waits are a little more than I’d expect. The restaurant was quite busy with what looked like a couple of lunchtime birthday parties, so perhaps we were just unlucky.
All in, the meal was very pleasant and the bill even more so – our bill for a bottle of wine, two courses each and a side salad to share would have been around £35. So if you happen to be out shopping at Westfield and fancy Italian with a twist, well, try Kitchen Italia.