207 Ferndale Road
020 096 2236
Tues-Thurs: 12 noon to 12 midnight
Fri-Sat: 12 noon to 2am
Sun: 12 noon to 11pm
We usually give a new restaurant a few visits before reviewing, but this place caught our eye on a cold Friday night. They were in their “soft launch” phase – the whole kit and caboodle will be open tomorrow (Tuesday 16th October), when it will have a longer menu including desserts. It is part of the same chain as Canova Hall (link, link and link), which is just across the road. This is a restaurant and bar also but takes a slightly different approach to decor. Gone are the cosy banquettes and the French Bistro feel, but what is left is the same industrial style, with lots of room for standing and drinking. Downstairs (and yet to be explored) is a cocktail bar with its own Gin distillery.
But we visited for the food, although by way of a cocktail and glass of wine. Food on the menu was hearty, and with large proportions it will certainly line your stomach for the Friday night revelries and probably divert any potential hangover. Menus online seem to be more extensive, with some sharing plates.
The foreshortened menu consisted of spaghetti and meatballs (beef, spicy pork and ricotta), a vegan dish and some fried items including potatoes, squash, peas, parmesan fries and focaccia. We settled for spicy pork and ricotta meatballs, and although we thought about ordering a side dish, we were glad we hadn’t when we saw the size of the plates of pasta.
The spicy pork was spicy but not overpowering with some chili in the tomato sauce too. We missed the promised gremolata but liked the taste of the sicilian sausage.
The ricotta meatballs were much softer than the beef but equally tasty. We missed the gremolata again and wondered what the ricotta salata was (advertised on the menu). We did have cheese and they didn’t offer any extra Parmesan. But I don’t think either of us minded.
We washed all this down with water and a glass of Primitivo and a Professore cocktail (Del Professore Madame gin, Kamm & Sons aperitif, Campari) – so a sort of Negroni with a large ice cube and we were glad to see the absence of a straw. A clever engineering touch was the shaved orange peel jammed into the side of the ice cube thus successfully preventing it from freezing your top lip during drinking. We would like to congratulate the barman (or woman) who invented this – patent it now.
We paid £42 including the drinks which were almost half the bill. We have another booking for Friday to try some of the other specialties on offer.