A great British-Italian Institution

I do find Italian food in Britain a bit hit and miss. I think it’s largely down to its mass commoditisation through mediocre chains like Bella Italia, Est Est Est, Pizza Express and, dare I say it, Pizza Hut. OK, maybe not Pizza Hut – that’s more like American junkfood. That’s not to say that you can’t get good Italian in Britain, but you do have to search for it. Interestingly, I find people become very loyal to good Italian restaurants, sometimes fiercely so, almost like it’s their one and only best-kept-secret.

Pomodoro in Knightsbridge (http://www.pomodoro.co.uk/) is one such place. Nestled in an eclectic run of restaurants on Beauchamp Place – which includes the notorious San Lorenzo (and yes, bizarrely, I nearly knocked down Sven Goran-Eriksson as he went in) – Pomodoro is one of those places that just “happened”. But, as history has shown, it happened in a very, very big way. Plastered across almost every wall are photos of the great, good, famous and infamous people who have graced the place with their presence. Johnny Depp, Sharon Stone, Robert de Niro – you name it. Such gregarious name-dropping even spills over onto the menu whereupon you find each pizza has a comment next to it (“Sharon Stone’s favourite, Tom Cruises’ favourite). I did cross-check with the waitress and they swear blind this is baked in fact, and I actually believe it in this case.

The restaurant is strange in this overt shrine to stardom. From every other angle it really shouldn’t be popular or famous. Its tables are cramped, the decor is a bit hit-and-miss, and the menu contains a fairly obvious mix of standard Italian classics i.e. pizza and pasta are order of the day. But what it lacks in kitchen-creativity it more than makes up in glamour-chic and absolutely amazing food. The various pizza breads and pizzas have dough bases that would not look out of place in Rome or Milan. The salads are fresh, inviting and could feed a small army. And the pasta is clearly made to order – in every sense of the word. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t change it.

Apparently the live music transforms the place into a great live venue but the act playing when we were there was more like an X Factor reject than an American Idol winner. Luck of the draw on a Monday night I guess.

You’ve got to go to Pomodoro, in one of its various locations, as it really is a great place to eat. Relaxed, fun and with fabulous food, even if it is a bit simple (I’m sure the Italian purists will be sticking pins in my effigy by now). Or, put another way, I think I had a far better time than Sven a few doors away.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by pj on January 29, 2010 at 20:22

    The Italian in London is woefully poor. zizzi may be the only chain that actually managed to turn out decent grub. I think the ingredients in London are much better and the consumer more demanding so there is no excuse. In America we have Olive Garden and that is dreadful. Pomodoros is a reminder that good old fashioned rustic Italian is the best.


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