It’s still my dream to go visit the major sights of Italy. Do as the Italians do. Drink prosecco by the bottle and wander around vineyards under the hot Tuscan sun. In the mean time, I have found myself trying to discover the great Italian restaurants of London to fill my heart with the best al dente pasta. The tastiest beef ragu and the thinest and freshest Italian pizzas.
I’ve visited my fair share of great places, from Padella in Borough Market to the finest Fucina in Marylebone. Not forgetting the wonderful Theo Randall’s second restaurant, Theo’s Simple Italian. I’ve always seen Theo as an mastermind of the Italian cuisine, he sure knows how to transport you to Italy through his food.
Doing things in a backward manner, I visited Theo’s second restaurant before his first. As I settled into the new year, I decided it was the best time to amend that little blip. Therefore, I found myself back at the InterContinental. Sipping on my favourite Pornstar Martini made by their excellent bar staff whilst Binny & I waited for our table reservation at Theo Randall.
Before we knew it, it was time to make our way over to Theo’s restaurant and settle down for what was a fantastic meal.
Kicking things off with a welcome glass of prosecco, we glanced over the menu to see what Theo had on offer for us. Minutes later, the man himself came out to welcome us personally. ‘Binny! Aftab!’ he exclaims as he was over to our table with a beaming smile. “So great to see you both again.” Feeling super special at this point, as the surrounding tables turned their heads to see who we were and acknowledge Theo Randall’s presence.
As Theo talked through the menu, I found myself salivating excessively. Wanting to order everything on the menu, so we asked for some good recommendations.
Just as Theo Randall left, we were brought over some zucchini fries and bruschetta to start off our meal.
I have had zucchini fries before, but they were incredibly thin, greasy and inedible. However, I knew Theo wouldn’t disappoint. They were thick, like chips and completely moreish. My favourite was the bruschetta though. The bread was crisp from the outside but incredibly soft inside. Topped with slow roasted tomatoes, garlic and a bit of olive oil. So delicious!
Since our appetisers were slightly carb filled, we decided to have light starters. The buffalo mozzarella was divine. I could have eaten it all day, especially with the grilled marinated red peppers and Taggiasche olives it was served with. The Insalata mista was a plate of Italian leaves with tomatoes, cucumber, fresh basil and caprino fresco, which is soft and creamy goats cheese. Theo recommended the smoked eel, but as Binny and I aren’t seafood fans we decided against it.
We were already quite full, so we decided to have our Primi as our mains, instead of having a Secondi too. Although the sound of the slow cooked lamb shoulder sounded insanely good. One for next time!
Whilst we waited for our mains to arrived, we decided to have a round of cocktails to accompany our pasta.
I ordered a refreshing, zesty yet sweet Martini d’Amalfi. It was made with lemons from the Amalfi coast. It is definitely the sort of cocktail that should be sipped on a terrace, under the beaming hot sun whilst you overlook white washed wall buildings and the sky blue waters.
Binny ordered a refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail with cucumber which seemed to tickle her taste buds.
Our mains came out quite swiftly. We had ordered the Pappardelle con cavolo nero. A dish that was made up with blended up cavolo nero, into a delicious paste, mixed in with the new season’s olive oil. Giving it a wonderful green colour! It was definitely my favourite out of the two dishes. Pappardelle is one of my favourite types of pasta and it was rather savoury in comparison to the ravioli, which was made with sweet roasted delicate squash, ricotta cheese, marjoram, butter and sage.
To keep things boozy (clearly they liked us well hydrated 😉) we were served up a glass of moscato. I absolutely love moscato, because it’s incredibly sweet and easy to drink. I generally have on a Friday night in, so I was in heaven.
Along with our lovely dessert wine, we were presented with a dessert platter to share. There was an array of delicious Italian treats for us to try. Rhubarb panna cotta, almond cake, flourless chocolate cake and Amalfi lemon tart. My two favourites were the lemon tart and the chocolate cake, because the tart gave a lovely sweet tang, just like my cocktail earlier. The chocolate cake was just divine and almost guilt free as there was no flour in there. However, it was creamy and moist. I also learnt that Theo is very accommodating for celiacs, as someone in his immediate family suffers from it. If you’re looking for an Italian that offers a gluten free dining experience, Theo Randall at the InterContinental has you covered.
Overall, a lovely experience with great food, fantastic drinks and brilliant service. However, I feel a slight attention to detail could take Theo’s restaurant to the next level. Something as simple as white table cloths could make it look even more elegant and uphold it’s reputation, residing in a five star hotel.
Star Rating for Theo Randall at the InterContinental:
Until next time…