Acciuga - London

acciuga 5472 outside-crop-v1Sitting quietly on Kensington High Street is an Italian restaurant named Acciuga (anchovy), and judging by its unassuming facade you’ll be forgiven for missing to note anything special.

This restaurant however is the brainchild of young Guglielmo Arnulfo - head chef and owner - a man who states a clear intention to offer a traditional yet experimental menu from his native Liguria, with influences from Piedmont and Tuscany.

Arnulfo gets fired up about the authenticity of other ‘Italian’ restaurants serving a dull Bolognese, but overall is indifferent to any menu other than his own. “My restaurant doesn’t serve that, if that’s what people want, then they can go elsewhere.” He has a point too, that’s not his market.

For starter I ate the Acciughe Impanate, lightly breaded anchovies with a fresh and well-balanced tomato sauce, presented in small pull-top tin. It’s little details such as this that exhibits a clearly thought through experience: a good balance of aesthetic interest. My guest ordered the tradional Recco’s style Cheese Fococcia, which was tasty and freshly baked.

The next course was Trofie al Pesto, the distinct basil flavour that many are familiar with. But this trofie pasta was fresh and served with crisp green beans and truffle oil, which kicked any familiarity far behind us. The presentation of dripped pesto dotted around the edge of the plate was more charming than nauseating. At this point we were impressed: the food was excellent and the staff were attentive.

For desserts my guest and I ordered pistachio and cappuccino based sweets which were both brilliantly presented with a fine mesh of chocolate speared in the top. The pastry beneath the freshly ground pistachio was crisp, and light enough to enjoy the natural saltiness of the nuts. Dessert can be a tricky course to get right for two people not overly keen on sweet, but they were the most enjoyable part of our Acciuga experience.

Acciuga in Italian means anchovy, but to anyone who has acquainted themselves with Arnulfo’s Kensington spot it probably means some of the best Italian cuisine inside the M25.

Acciuga 343 Kensington High St, London W8 6NW 020 7603 3888

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