This is going to be the most difficult review I may ever write. My initial
thought when I got to work on the morning after my first visit to Giorgio's fine
establishment was a one line review :
"Simply the best restaurant I have ever been to"
I'm still not sure I should go any further. I should just leave it at that as no description on these pages is going to come anywhere near to expressing the reality of excellence I experienced there.
So, the purpose of this review is not to provide a list of reasons to book a table, but merely a means for me to re-live the moment, to luxuriate once again in the delights of a perfect evening's dining. To begin in the beginning, my scruffian band of London boys were greeted with charm and shown to our table in the middle of the dining arena. Looking around us, we were struck mainly by the wealth of the male diners and the high standards of dressed up (to the nines) of their female co-conspirators. Apart from this, nothing and no-one made me feel uncomfortable in my strictly jeans 'n' jumper work wear. The menu was perfectly weighted, dancing delicately between local Lombardi traditionals and the simple elegance of modern Italian cooking. Perhaps two minutes passed while I made my selection, perhaps less. For my first visit it had to be the regional specialities. A board of cured meats followed by a massive rabbit leg rolled in ham, surrounded by polenta mash and roast fennel. The totally obsessed wine waiter got straight to the point and suggested three brunellos, each with their own distinct characteristics. We probably just went for the most expensive one but I'm sure we wouldn't have been disappointed with any of them. It's that kind of wine list. My starter platter of salamis was almost embarrassingly out-sized and I had to enlist the help of meat-head Marios in order to save face and send back a cleared board to the kitchen. The air-dried beef was naturally the star but the chunky porks and the heavy garlic sausage selection were serious supporting players. These were meaty treats and the point is that I don't think I'd have any chance of finding a selection of this quality in a search of London's stores and markets even if I had a free month to do nothing but shop for sausage. Did I mention the perfect service by the way ? No, I probably forgot simply because it's excellent in that unobtrusively brilliant way. There are a ship load of staff but they all know exactly what they're doing and just when they're needed. Professional, cheerful, warm, efficient, accommodating. What more could I ask of them. On to the main event and the big bad bruttha of a Lombardi rabbit leg. This chunk of bunny was massive. The whole beast must weigh a stone at least. Wrapped in fine ham and filling plate with a gently steaming aroma, I knew before the first fork full that this was going to be mighty. How right was I ! As I sliced delicate pink layers away from the bone it felt, and then tasted, more like the finest veal than anything else. The accompaniments were rich and seductive too. The polenta mash, buttery, the roasted fennel, adding visual and tasting cues. In all, a perfect dish, partly for its simplicity, partly for the quality of the ingredients, much for the skill and care of the cooking I'm sure but overall, wholly appropriate for the setting. Tasting my way through each delicious bite I totally got what the place was about. This made me happy. By the time we got to the third course we were approaching a state of delirium but we were not about to let this get in the way of sampling further delights. Each pudding comes with its own dessert wine recommendation which we were only too happy to follow. Oh Man ! that stuff's strong. Powerful enough to send us reeling out of the place anaesthetised even to the sting in the wallet when the bill arrived. A bill which while hefty, was perfectly acceptable for such unique excellence. Thank you Giorgio, you're simply the best.