I’ve always been a huge fan of Theo Randall, he is one of the many chefs that are a real asset to London’s luxury food scene. He opened Theo Randall in the InterContinental Park Lane back in 2006, marking his tenth year of having a London restaurant. In that honour, he opened up a second restaurant named ‘Theo’s Simple Italian’ within the Indigo Hotel in Earl’s Court.
The Indigo Hotel isn’t on the main streets, therefore can be a little difficult to find. Which would mean you wouldn’t necessarily spot Theo’s Simple Italian if you were passing through. More likely if you had the intention of visiting or were staying at the Indigo Hotel. However, moving from having a restaurant in a prestigious Mayfair hotel to the something a little less reputable was a slight shock, especially rebranding with ‘simple’. Quite frankly, there is nothing simple about Theo’s food, because i’m sure a lot of work goes into it as it’s so well made. I just felt like such an honourable chef was selling himself short, but that’s just a personal opinion.
The inside of Theo’s Simple Italian restaurant had a lovely airy feeling, like a fresh, early morning with beautiful, bright, inviting autumnal colours that just make you want to smile.
We were lucky enough not only meet the man himself, but also have a pasta masterclass too. He gave us the ideal recipe to make the perfect pasta dough, showed us how to get pasta smooth and thin, working it through a pasta machine. In the olden days, they used to thin out the dough by hand using rolling pins, apparently the women in the factories had arms like the incredible hulk from doing it everyday. On the other side of the pasta machine, there was a pasta cutter for spaghetti and other types of pasta. We even got a quick tutorial on how to make ravioli, which is surprisingly easy to make!
We were brought out some soft focaccia bread and a complete plate of burrata, with salami and roasted tomatoes.
As I can’t eat pork, I was kindly brought out a vegetarian starter of burrata, spinach, roasted peppers, borlotti beans and lightly toasted bread. It was a delicious mix that worked well together, so I was certainly very happy.
For the Primi, there was Ravioli di Ricotta e Erbette (ravioli with ricotta and erbette), Taglierini Pescatore (fine pasta with mussels, prawns and finish in parsley, garlic and tomato sauce) and my favourite pappardelle pasta with beef ragout. The pasta was cooked al dente to perfection. The ravioli had a lovely subtle creamy, buttery sauce which kept the pasta from drying out and added some favour. I’m not a huge seafood fan, so I had a little try of the Pescatore, however it really wasn’t to my taste. The fishy taste was too overpowering for me. However, it went down a treat with the others. The pappardelle was just divine though. I had been craving it for weeks, so I was so happy to see it on the menu. Deeeelicious!
For Secondi, there was Tagliata di Manzo which is chargrilled bavette of beef cooked medium-rare with borlotti beans, rocket and roasted tomatoes. Sea bream with grilled vegetables and pork T-bone with rainbow chard and portobello mushrooms. The beef was just melt in your mouth, complete with lots of flavour from the beans and the fresh rocket and tomatoes made it a much lighter dish. I tried the sea bream and I liked the flavours that were incorporated into it, but it didn’t wow me. I didn’t eat the pork because of religious reasons but it the only untouched dish along the table.
For dessert/dolci, was tiramisu, ricotta cheesecake and soft chocolate cake served with vanilla gelato. I felt like all the desserts were scrumptious. I mean, it’s quite difficult to make dessert wrong and not impress guests. However, the tiramisu was made in the true Italian way. Tiramisu is translated as ‘pick me up’ and it sure was that, it can make anyone happy! The chocolate cake was moist and enjoyable. However, my least favourite was the ricotta cheesecake. I feel like savoury shouldn’t meet sweet in desserts.
Overall, a decent meal, however I was expecting a little more from Theo if i’m honest. However, I guess it is a little more along the lines of casual dining as apposed to fine dining.
Overall Star Rating for Theo’s Simple Italian:
Until next time…