★★★★ | Stuzzico, London
Tucked away in a section of London called Connaught Village, steps away from Marble Arch and the Middle Eastern restaurants of Edgeware Road, Stuzzico, as small as it is, is a stand out.
Luca, one of the proprietors, will great you with a warm Italian smile and will recommend dishes and especially wine that superbly complement each other.
It’s smallish menu will allow you to try various specialities of the Puglia region, but it all depends on what you fancy; fish, meat and/or pasta. My dining companion and I had a taste of it all!
We started out with a glass of prosecco and red wine, pretty standard stuff, but the best was yet to come.
The Octopus starter was well cooked, meaty and cleverly drenched in artichoke sauce – at £13.50 worth every bite. The Malloreddus pasta sausage ragout was uniquely served with shell pasta and was a nice size portion as a starter yet it could’ve used more meat (£14.50). The main courses, however, were stunning. The CONIGLIO, LARDO DI COLONNATA, FAGIOLINI – rabbit – was very tender, a generous portion, and not tough as rabbit usually is. Served with a load of green beans, it was very flavoursome (a bargain at £18.50). The Yellowfin tuna steak (TAGLIATA DI TONNO PINNA GIALLA), was superb. Served as six large slices, it didn’t really taste fishy at all and came with a dollop of the never eaten before black olive sauce and beautifully shredded leak, baby heritage carrots topped with sundried tomato powder, and served warm! The tuna was meaty, fresh, and superb! I highly recommend it. But it was the wine that Luca recommended to go with our main courses that was par excellence!
I had the Re Manfredi (Basilicata) and it was smooth, sweet and tasted a bit like lemon water. White gold in colour, I enquired where I can buy a whole bottle – it was that good. Luca informed us that this wine, and some others on the menu, can’t be bought at any store in London as he gets it direct from Italy. He has personally sourced wine from Southern Italy – it was very very good!
Stuzzico’s deserts offer something for everyone. I recommend the blood orange cheesecake – Cheesecake Arancia Rossa E Cantucci – it’s divine. The Cantucci E Vin Santo – almond biscuits – served with raspberries on top with heavy cream, was heavenly.
There’s a lot more to Stuzzico’s menu – starters include fava beans purée soup, grilled king prawns, tuna tartare, first courses include lobster, and main courses such as monkfish, brill, Tomahawk beef steak, veal and beef fillet with additional sides such as spinach, potatoes, salad, broccoli, and courgettes. And no matter what you order, it’s going to be cooked delicately, with care, and will be very very delicious. This 26 seat restaurant needs to be visited to be tasted, for you need to eat for yourself to see and feel the comforts of Stuzzico’s regional Italian cooking and to meet Luca who’s probably the nicest guy this side of town. Him and co-owner Franco de Todaro are passionate about serving the very best food and wine, and they succeed! Stuzzico is an Italian word which means to tease and to tantalise – and that is exactly what they do!
Tel: 020 7262 9122
Address: Connaught Village, 24 Kendal Street, London W2 2AW
Tube: Marble Arch, Edgware Rd, Paddington, Lancaster Gate
Price rating: ££££
Mon to Friday:
8am – 4pm & 6:30-10:30pm
8am – 4pm & 6:30-10:30pm
9am – 4pm
Closed on Bank Holidays
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.