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Big Flavours in Little Chelsea
Hollywood Road in the fashionable Kensington enclave of Little Chelsea has recently morphed into a foodie destination. The latest addition is Stecca, an Italian restaurant serving regional and seasonal cuisine with a ‘light and contemporary touch’. Chef/patron Stefano Stecca grew up in Rimini, a coastal town in Emilia Romagna which has a rich culinary heritage of pasta and fish. For the last two decades, he has honed his skills in London’s Michelin starred restaurants and luxury hotels including Zafferano, Rosmarino (scooping Time Out’s best local restaurant award), Brunello at The Baglioni hotel and TOTO’s in Knightsbridge. So with a CV like that I’m excited to have been asked to review his own Italian restaurant in Little Chelsea.The interior is cleanly designed with white walls and contemporary art creating an elegant feel. Breads were fresh and excellent. I particularly enjoyed the char on the Sicilian flatbread Carta di Musica and a fluffy focaccia. A crisp, dry glass of Franciacorta Prestige, Ca del Bosco, Lombardia from the Italian and French focussed wine list set us up very nicely for the upcoming dinner.Starters include an enticing list of raw fish including Sicilian Mazzara red prawns, salads and antipasti. I went for a plate of tender octopus with the flesh expertly seared. The accompanying chickpea purée was rich and a great complement to the celaphod.The Piedmontese classic Vitello Tonnato featured beautifully flavoured veal doused in a delicate tuna mayonnaise with a sprinkling of truffle offering a luxe take on the dish.The menu allows for any pasta to be eaten as a main course for a small supplement. Wide ribbons of fresh Stracci came with a tender and surprisingly subtle rabbit Ragu pasta given a kick by the capers and olives. The offered glass of house red, a Novello, Marramiero, Abruzzo, 2017 was not great – it would be worth spending a bit more…
From the Secondi menu came a dish of pan-fried cod with a lentil sauce infused with sage. This was a perfect winter’s dish with a lovely piece of fish perched on a rustic warming lentils. The glass of white, Falanghina, Beneventano, Indomito, Campania 2015 was a much better bet. It was aromatic with lychee notes and worked well with the fish.Sides of fried baby courgettes were crisp and delicious. Using the baby courgettes gave the vegetables a tenderness that isn’t present with their larger relatives.Affogato is the perfect pick-me-up after a meal. The blend of espresso and vanilla ice cream combines bitter and sweet flavours – I love it.Cream Mascarpone is really a Tiramisu without the sponge fingers. A decadent creamy way to end the meal.
Stecca is the perfect neighbourhood Italian restaurant in Chelsea. It combines great food with friendly service in a stylish, comfortable environment. I’ll be going back to try the Mazzara red prawns!
14 Hollywood Rd, Chelsea, London SW10 9HY
020 7460 2322