Theo Randall is a busy man indeed. Not only has he just opened the local gem that is Theo’s Simple Italian in Earl’s Court, but Theo Randall at the InterContinental has recently undergone an interior refresh and menu update to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
I was recently invited down to Theo’s Simple Italian with a lovely group of bloggers
and was lucky enough to try the delicious Italian food on offer.
When we arrived we were handed a glass of prosecco and given a little tour of the restaurant. Housed in the boutique Hotel Indigo literally a stone’s throw from Earl’s Court station, the restaurant is welcoming and informal.
Split into different sections between a deli with seasonal produce and top Italian ingredients, a wonderful marble bar area and restaurant. It has been stylishly designed – very Italian indeed.
Next was the pasta making masterclass! I had actually been on a pasta making course the Sunday before as a birthday present from a friend so it was great to see what I had learned in practice again. I hope this means I can definitely recreate pasta at home! Theo’s passion for Italian food is evident as he shows us how to make the perfect pesto through a number of great stories.
We all had a go at using the pasta machine and making our own fettuccine which was boxed up for us to take home and enjoy with the freshly made pesto.
It was then time to take our seats at the table so we could enjoy working our way through the menu which is split into 6 sections: cicchetti, antipasti, primi, secondi, contorni and dolci, with a handful of options for each. My kind of menu.
Theo Randall is widely regarded as one of the UK’s specialists in Italian cuisine, and you can see why. The food is authentic, unpretentious and delicious.
We started with a selection of cicchetti – a North-East Italian word meaning savoury snacks or small side dishes, typically served in a bar or informal restaurant. And what delightful snacks to start the evening with!
The veal, beef and pork spicy meatballs weren’t really that spicy but were melt-in-the-mouth good. Oh, and those polenta chips! Served with a punchy anchovy dressing, they were lovely and crunchy.
Swiftly came the next round of food from the antipasti section. Marinated black angus beef thinly sliced with parmesan, aged balsamic vinegar and rucola. The beef was incredible and this trio with salty parmesan and bitter rucola is always a winner for me.
Burrata will also top the charts time and again, but I think the winter tomatoes served with this stole the show.
I think it’s safe to say we were all starting to feel a little full by this point. But Theo’s Simple Italian had so much more still to offer!
I’m having a real love affair with Italian food at the moment. I just can’t get enough of it. Especially pasta, and by pasta I mean pappardelle. Here severed with an oxtail ragu, it did not disappoint.
This was also served with another pasta dish I have never heard of before: calamarata allo scoglio with prawns, mussels, squid and fish. Calamarata is a kind of thick ring pasta which resembles sliced calamari. This dish was so moreish and full of flavour. I wish I didn’t have to share it around the table, I wanted to eat up every little morsel and lick the bowl clean! I’d go back to Theo’s Simple Italian just for this alone.
Perfectly cooked sea bream with potatoes, fennel and capers was next, with zucchini fritti.
This is definitely the new craze – I see some form of courgette fries on most menus these days! Most are distinctly average, but oh no, these were light and crisp and definitely rival those of Oldroyd. I think I must go back and try them both again just to make sure. Would only be fair.
The night ended with a trio of desserts: white chocolate and orange tart with a spiced chocolate sauce, a sambuca semi freddo and Theo’s signature lemon tart. I have to say apart from the lemon tart which was ridiculously good the others didn’t really do it for me. The white chocolate tart was a little underwhelming and I just can’t get on board with sambuca in any form since having one too many shots over many years at university. But that lemon tart, so tart and tangy, I wanted to devour the whole thing. That really is the only very slight blip of the whole night. The rest of the food was outstanding.
Theo is a true gent – he took the time to talk to us all individually and even sent Lauren a personal email with recommendations for her up-coming trip to Rome! It was great to hear from Theo about why he wanted to create such a welcoming, local Italian and find out more about his cooking. We were lucky enough to receive his second cookbook My Simple Italian and I can’t wait to start cooking from it – I’ve got my eye on the beef and porcini stew and the monkfish with proscuitto, capers and parsley.
Theo’s Simple Italian really is simple Italian food at its best. And it made me want to go back to Italy even more! I think Bolonga is next on my list. For the food of course.
*Thank you to Theo for wonderful night and everyone at the Indigo Hotel and Sauce. The evening was complementary, but views remain my own and I’m coming back for that calamarata!
Theo’s Simple Italian
34-44 Barkston Gardens