Monday, March 01, 2010

Zafferano, London

I was lucky enough to eat many times at Zafferano between 1995 and 1998 when Giorgio Locatelli was Head Chef. It was here that I have eaten some of the best Italian food in the UK along with Giorgio's eponymous Locanda Locatelli , L'Anima and Franco Taruschio's The Walnut Tree Inn.

After Giorgio’s departure, his number two, Andrew Needham, took over the reins and I continued to be delighted by my meals between 1999 onwards however I must confess that until last Thursday I had not eaten there for a couple of years. Needham has an excellent background starting as a teenager at the Savoy prior to working at Paris’ Le Pre Catalan followed by a stint at Giorgio’s uncle’s La Cinzianella on the borders of Lombardy and Piedmont.

I am pleased to report that my meal was up to the usual high standard and despite having limited time as my companion had to return to Saudi Arabia I had two lovely courses ( no vino )

My Pappardelle allo zafferano con guanciale di maiale (Homemade saffron pappardelle with pig cheeks) was outstanding . The quality of the pigs cheeks was apparent unlike some very poor ones I recently had at Dean Street Townhouse.

The Tonno alla griglia con rucola e pomodorini siciliani (Char grilled tuna with rocket and Sicilian cherry tomatoes) was a simple well executed dish where the basic ingredients stood out from the Tuna itself to the choice of tomatoes and rocket.

We finished with excellent esspreso and a mini pistacio ice cream cone on the casa !

Service was both totally professional and charming.

I intend to return here soon and try some of the other dishes especially those that feature veal and see if Needham's reputation for meticulous procurement applies to everything that appears on the menu.

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