Being plant-based, I live for Italian food (a DNA test actually showed that while I’m 31% Greek amongst other ethnicities, I’m 20% Italian (which makes sense as the Greeks were under Venetian rule from 1489 until 1570/1-yes, damn right, I Googled that) but anyhow, my love of Italy runs deep. Literally.
I actually moved to Rome for a short stint after my directing MA and while, I admittedly have mixed feelings about that time ( I was working for a difficult film producer), I definitely have fond food memories in Trastevere, as I dined in quaint Italian restaurants on cobbled back streets by night Fellini style and made friends with actors, mime artists and filmmakers alike, even picking up the Italian language easily thanks to being fluent in Greek. Most of all, I learned quite how strong and resilient I was from a young age. Solo travel at 21 will do that to a girl.
But back to 40 Dean Street.
Dining there felt rather like time-travelling to a more decadent era (my kids might even say their favourite era, the Roman times!) or feasting as if it were Christmas Day at the any least, with only the finest antique cutlery, painted porcelain plates and heavy cut wine glasses and tumblers on hand for a tipple or two. We certainly feasted like Roman Emperors and Empresses.
You know the meal was a success when you usually picky kids’ plates were clean. My two gobbled up crispy rings of calamari for starter, I had the tastiest, most moreish roasted tomato soup of my life (true story) and Peter plumped for classic char-grilled bruschetta piled high with finely chopped San Marzino tomatoes and slithers of fragrant basil. Perfection. I stole a bite and accidentally ate a whole serving. Sorry Pete!
The kids tucked into penne bolognese and I enjoyed a big bowl of seasonal salad composed of avocado, pear and pomegranate seeds (I asked them to omit the Hallumi) with a delicate mustard and olive oil dressing I’ve since replicated at home a hundred times.
Peter plumped for his favourite: Black ink linguini with crab, prawns and courgette and our strange children ordered mashed potato and green beans on the side! Not sure it quite meshes with pasta but they loved it!
I declined dessert for once as I was full from the soup (!) but the kids couldn’t refuse the strawberry and chocolate Italian gelati and Peter positively inhaled the Salted caramel cheesecake with pistachio ice cream dusted with dark cocoa and a raspberry on top.
I enjoyed an decaf coffee in the prettiest blue and white china cup and saucer (I’ve just bought a backless top from Topshop in this pattern as I endlessly swing between cheating on food with fashion and vice versa, mood depending-the dream is shopping while eating)!
What a dreamy meal.
Not only is Italian cuisine fresh and flavourful, it’s the most bankable food my kids will eat when it comes to family lunches, and this epic three hour long feast got the little guys’ seal of approval.
The prosecco was perfect too.