Summer Menu at Acciuga Kensington:
There are a few restaurants in London which have quickly become like old friends. Although Acciuga only opened in 2013, I was lucky enough to pop along and meet young chef Guglielmo Arnulfo right at the very beginning. I’ve been back a couple of times since, even taking an Italian friend (who was very impressed). It’s charming to watch as the restaurant evolves and of course better still to have the opportunity to taste.
The summer menu sounded fabulous and I was delighted to be invited along to review. It’s hard to refuse someone as enthusiastic about his food as Guglielmo.
A new take on some classic Italian food together with some of the dishes which have been popular since the launch of Acciuga; an evolution rather than a revolution, on paper at least, I was curious to taste! The menu has evolved to include a few Tuscan classics in addition to the Ligurian specialities that Guglielmo first brought to London.
All my resolutions about NOT eating four courses at lunch time quickly went out of the window. If you count the amuse bouche then it’s five. But then, who would want to be churlish.
We decided that the best route would be to take the chef’s recommendations.
For Antipasti, a Vittello Tonnato which came as a chunky piece of slow cooked veal topped with a creamy tonnato sauce. Not a classic presentation, but one which worked well with the tender veal.
Insalata Russa was a lovely light mixture, an egg white mayonnaise giving the whole concoction a summery texture
We’d asked for small portions for our Primi course. Pasta dishes tend to be heavy and, once I’ve eaten a bowlful I generally can’t manage my main course.
There’s something quite compelling though about a bowl of Papparadelle al Ragu de Coniglio (rabbit ragout).
And I love a well cooked risotto, with that slightly nutty rice in a creamy sauce. I try my best to make risotto at home but it never works quite as well as the risotto of a true Italian.
We shared two main courses. The Pollo, Fave e Pecorino (chicken with broad beans and pecorino) was a light, fresh dish with those tiny green broad beans you can only get at the start of summer.
Ossobuco con Sorbetto di Risotto Allo Zafferano (Osso Bucco with saffron risotto sorbet) was a beautifully delicate take on an Italian classic. I would have been happy to have the saffron risotto sorbet as an amuse bouche or palate cleanser; here it contrasted with the rich, tender meat.
We were supposed to be sharing again, but the Semifreddo di Mojito was definitely staying my side of the table.
Actually I’d have been quite happy with the Fresh Fruit Tagliata too.
I’m still a fan, I’m sad that I’ve moved a little further away from Acciuga because I love seeing how Guglielmo’s cuisine is evolving. I like the pricing at Acciuga, with all Antipasti at £10, all Primi at £15, Secondi at £20 and Dolci at £8. There are also set lunch options. And, I have always loved the ambience, a laid back decor that manages to fuse the soft colour palette of contemporary design with white table linen and clean wooden flooring and that showcases a different Italian artist every few months.
343 Kensington High Street