You know a restaurant must be doing something right if it’s still full on a Sunday night at 21:30, which was the case on a recent visit to Pizzicotto at High Street Kensington. What is the reason for its popularity with the locals? The fact that it is an independently run family restaurant? The fact that it constantly strives to innovate its gourmet offerings? It is certainly a combination of the above and the fact service comes with a knowledgeable and warm Italian welcome.
On arrival, you will notice a large amount of orders for their black dough pizza, which is in fact a dusky black charcoal activated pizza. With rumours of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, absorbing toxins in your body hence possibly fighting hangovers; it was hardly surprising to find the restaurant incredibly busy even late on a Sunday night. Let’s not forget the actual taste of the dough is much lighter and smokier than traditional pizza doughs. We combined this with Burrata Pugliese, tomatoes and fresh basil salsa, which is exactly the kind of heartwarming food you need on a Sunday night prior to returning to work the next day.
Pizzicotto isn’t just about their speciality pizzas. For starters, we enjoyed one of the most prized salamis from Parma, the Culatello di Zibello. The lengthy maturation, the melt in your mouth texture and the richness of the meat, all explains why it is one of the most prized offerings from Italy. We also tried fresh Normandy clams that had been strongly flavoured with garlic and chilli and had great tasting sauce that just demanded dipping with the crispy bread.
Their pasta section is equally strong. Tagliatelle with the original pork belly ragu felt like the kind of traditional recipe that has been passed down from one generation to another and has always been a winning choice whether you are 8 or 80. It helps that all their pasta are homemade on site. Their take on the squid ink tagliolini was particularly impressive, it had the freshness along with the slight al dente chew to the pasta. The dish came with appetising king prawns, cherry tomatoes and parsley salsa.
The decor had that welcoming family restaurant look that you would happily walk in and dine at 3-4 times a week. Finishing the meal with an amaretto digestif was the proper Italian way to end an evening. One thing is for sure, Italians certainly know how to enjoy life.