Iddu in Kensington
Occupied for many years by a French patisserie, 44 Harrington Road in London’s classy South Kensington area has been replaced by Iddu, a restaurant with warmth and hospitality at its heart. Describing itself as a Sicilian meeting point, it’s become a place where locals can gather easily in a relaxed and friendly environment over a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner.
With a small menu, it’s very quickly noticeable that here, dishes are all about the quality of their components. Fresh, seasonal and authentic, each plate is simple and honest, carefully crafted to allow each ingredient to shine through in its natural form.
The small selection of crudités, nuts and olives provided a lovely introduction to our evening, while the Rye Bruschetta, Ricotta, Figs & Prosciutto was the perfect accompaniment to the full-bodied Montalto Organic Nero d’Avola wine. Crunchy bread topped with jammy fig flesh and cool, salty prosciutto, the outcome was savoury-sweet, cutting out the sourness typically found with rye bread.
The Raw Artichokes Salad, Baby Spinach & Pecorino Ragusano introduced a lovely, raw touch to our first course, with a perfectly seasoned citrus dressing that added freshness and bite, lifting the earthy flavours of the raw artichokes to create a very light dish. While the pecorino added great depth of flavour, the thickness of the cheese weighed the dish down slightly, and could have perhaps done better to be shaved more thinly, to support the salad more gently.
Iddu’s take on the traditional Caponata transformed the dish into an autumnal celebration, swapping the regular aubergine for earthier fare. Made with pumpkin, artichoke and mushrooms, this was a gloriously comforting dish, which once again pitted sweet against salt, with olives and capers creating layers of flavour, and extra crunch provided by the presence of creamy pine nuts and pumpkin seeds.
For our main course, we opted for two pasta dishes, including a Sicilian Beef Ragu and a Pasta with Pistachio Pesto with added prawns. If you’re looking for a traditional beef sauce, the ragu has it all. Herby and meaty, it’s the kind of pasta dish one might expect to find back in Italy. The pistachio pesto was a fantastic alternative to the usual basil pesto, adding nuttiness and creaminess to the extremely thin spaghetti. However, unlike the other dishes, it lacked slightly in seasoning, but this was easily rectified. The highlight of each dish was easily the handmade, fresh pasta, which was delicate, light and cooked to perfection. Drizzled in olive oil, it reaffirmed what a pasta dish should taste like.
Dessert was not a rushed affair. Opting for the Pistachio Cake with ice cream, we found that this was a dish that did not leave anything to the imagination: packed full of pistachio and proudly green, each bite of the cake was light, crumbly and rich.
Following the recommendation of our very knowledgeable restaurant manager, we were also offered the Tiramisù and the Cannoli Siciliani. The former was faultless; a traditional egg-white mixture that was light, creamy and fluffy, with a sharp cocoa topping. The latter was a playful dish, with miniature cannoli filled with creamy ricotta cheese imported from Sicily and served with crushed pistachios, hazelnuts and chocolate nibs for dipping. Although an appealing concept, the cream cheese was sadly far too sweet, overshadowing the dish.
A lovely addition to the evening was the opportunity to sample Iddu’s accomplished granita flavours. With the lemon flavour joyfully sharp, sweet and refreshing, and the orange flavour syrupy, fruity and full of natural flavour, these desserts are a treat that would delight any passerby on a hot summer’s day.
Akin to a bistro in many ways, Iddu does simple Italian food and does it very well. Combined with a beautiful homely atmosphere inside, friendly and knowledgeable wait staff, this is the kind of place one should consider when looking to meet with friends and to gather round a table in true Sicilian style. And with a steady stream of customers throughout the evening, it is clear that Iddu has set itself up as a firm favourite for locals in the area, appealing to Kensington’s multicultural demographic in search for simple, fresh and honest food.
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To book a table at Iddu, 44 Harrington Road London SW7 3ND, call 0207 5891991 or visit here.