For the Italian cuisine cognoscenti, they know that all the best pasta chefs come from the region of Emilia Romagna. Hence, we walked into Stecca in Little Chelsea with high expectations as award-winning Italian chef patron Stefano Stecca grew up in that region and worked at some of the best Italian restaurants around previously like Zafferano and Brunello at The Baglioni Hotel.
Stecca might have the appearance of a homely, local restaurant but the polished decor is unmistakably Chelsea with elegant looking artwork and crisp, white table cloths. The royal blue colour scheme also helped to make the restaurant stand out in this Little Chelsea part of West London.
The classic construction of their aubergine parmigiana was evidence of years of perfecting traditional dishes in top hotel restaurants. It was rich and warming, just the ideal kind of dish after a hard day’s work in the office. The other starter we tried were mouthwatering pan-fried scallops with cauliflower, mushroom and asparagus. You know the battle is half won when you are supplied with well-sized, premium grade scallops (Orkney scallops, perhaps?), which were pillowy soft on the palate. The rich, flavoursome taste matched the exquisite presentation of the dish.
Grilled pink veal chop was extremely meaty looking but a perfect recommendation by their manager as it was soft-tasting, succulent and well-marbled; I had enjoyed it so much that I asked the staff where they sourced the veal and this was also from Scotland.
Fettucine mushrooms might seem a deceptively simple dish but all the best Italian dishes are the simplest. The fresh, homemade pasta was ideally cooked to an al dente level and matched with an exotic array of flavoursome mushrooms. If you want a masterclass on how authentic pasta should be made, then a visit to Stecca is compulsory.
We finished off with a very nutty portion of Sicilian cannoli, lusciously smooth crema mascarpone and a chocolate fondant with a gorgeous white chocolate centre. All were executed with absolute culinary perfection, where you know it hasn’t been over or undercooked for any amount of time.
It was deceptively quiet when we arrived for our booking on a Thursday night, but the Chelsea crowd like to enjoy their dinners late and it rapidly filled up as the evening wore on, so a restaurant booking prior to your visit is definitely advised.