At this time of year there’s not many better things to do on a Sunday lunchtime than relax, get cosy, eat drink and be merry. One such place is ‘The Big Easy in Covent Garden‘, but for lovers of fabulous Italian food Theo Randall’s Simple Italian based at Hotel Indigo Kensington is becoming the new brunch-time weekend Mecca.
It seems the meaning of Brunch is evolving too, these days at Theo’s it starts from 11am and carries on to well past 3pm, gatecrashing lunch completely and almost over-taking dinnertime.
We thought it would be a good idea to send native Italian foody ‘Francesca Vespignani’ along to find out more…
When your restaurant is situated in one of most chic area of London and its Chef Director is none other than Theo Randall, public expectations are bound to be high and rightly so too. Upon entering Theo’s you can see the team have spent a lot of effort balancing the the mix between style and tradition. Some of the furniture has a rustic touch, but there’s also modern clean design and when the light outside falls the atmosphere changes inside to one of warm cosy-ness. The bow window is especially beautiful, so too is the library room and I can’t think of a nicer place to bring the family all together for an unhurried catch up.
We’re here for Sunday Brunch, but my first surprise is it’s actually a three (technically four) course Italian Lunch. Priced at £35 (including a glass of Prosecco on arrival) part of Theo’s philosophy behind the menu is to encourage the enjoyment of sharing – a great Italian family tradition.
To start we have a Salami selection – ’Antipasti’, a typical Italian Tagliere: Bresaola, Finocchiona, Salami, Prosciutto and Burratina. The Salami is fresh and savoury. The Burratina is perfect, no too watery and no too dry, an able companion for this typical Napolitan cheese.
For the next course or ‘Primo’, there are three options. I go for the ‘Ravioli Ricotta and Erbette with Liquefiled Butter’ and my partner orders the ‘Pappardelle with Ragù’. They taste like they could have been made in a cosy kitchen back home and all the pasta except for the Penne or Spaghetti at Theo’s is made here. The standard is very high, like the best ‘Trattoria’ back home in Italy.
For the ‘Secondo’ we order the ‘Chargrilled Bavette of beef med-rare with borlotti beans, rocket roasted tomatoes’ and ‘Pork T-bone with Rainbow Chard and Portobello Mushrooms’. The meat is sooo tender and both dishes have deep flavours that only experience and a real passion for good food can create.
We order a bottle of Italian bollicine from Veneto: Torresella, there’s plenty of choice if you like Italian wine as all the wines at Theo’s are from Italy. The great thing about Theo’s is there’s no rush, we Italians know how to enjoy food (and wine) and there’s plenty of time for conversations in such a relaxed and unhurried restaurant.
As for the menu, under the guidance of Theo, the Italian head chef will makes seasonal changes and the food promises to follow the ingredients, colour and Italian provenience.
To finish of course is dessert: A fantasy selection of ‘Tiramisu, Ricotta Cheesecake and Soft Chocolate cake (with vanilla gelato)’. I’m speechless, they look incredible and taste even better. I’m happy, contented and I feel completely at home. The slow food concept of this restaurant is something that I’m sure is appreciated not only by Italians, but lovers of good cuisine.
By Francesca Vespignani
Theo’s Simple Italian
Weekend Brunch – every Saturday and Sunday £35 (including glass of Prosecco)
Address: 34-44 Barkston Gardens, Kensington, London SW5 0EW
020 7370 9130