Thursday, 21 April 2011

Ciao Bella

An old fave of mine on Lambs Conduit St, Bloomsbury.

Good Olives & Parmesan laid on every table, very nice.

I always thought it was at least as good as any pizza express if not better, besides being non-corporate, an authentic entity.  

This stunted memory, I have to now withdraw from.

The 'Napoletana' pizza seemed reheated from yesterday, that telltale hard sweaty cheese that appears oily on the surface.  The anchovies were bristling with minuscule bones.  Service was as I remembered it;  lacey casa-nostra insouciance.  This may be why people regard Ciao Bella as the real article. It is lauded by a circle of pocketbook-conscious uppercrusties as the best Italian in London. 
The sea bream from the specials menu was perfectly acceptable although bony for what is stated as a  fillet.  No matter.

It's individualistic enough but merely acceptable, in Italy itself it would be a dire low tourist trapjoint with pizza express prices, although without the standards. Yes, they have a live piano player inside most of the time, but on a dry summers day you'll want to sit outside. Choose the specials - everything else might be leftovers.

The waiting staff are a masterclass of broken down, autumnal Italian machismo but this is where its uniqueness ceases.  Next time I'm going past to the lovely Lamb pub next door. 

Sea bream special, 'Orata ai Gamberetti' (£15.50)
Napoletana pizza (£7)
House dry white wine (£12.50)

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