If you can’t stand celebrity chefs, you might want to avoid Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant: Gino appears everywhere from photos with celebrities on the walls, cookbooks on the shelves, the detailed personal descriptions on the menu to even a welcoming video on the restaurant’s website.
Celebrity Chefitis is a common occurrence these days, especially amongst hard-nosed food critics, but if you put aside your cynicism, there is much to enjoy here. Although I would strongly recommend shortening their restaurant name to Gino, to make the name catchier.
Bucking the Italian trend of spending 3 hours to savour your meals, they pride themselves on speedy service here. And who can blame them, when their customers are desperate for a quick, comforting meal before catching their train? They are offering a speedy pronto lunch menu weekdays where they guarantee service within 20 minutes.
I, of course had all the time in the world and went along in the evening to savour the finest that Gino has to offer. Steamed mussels might be a simple dish, but you need to source your molluscs carefully. The mussels here are so gentle and smooth, you do wonder if they have been marinated with anti-wrinkle cream. It is actually a classic combination of tomato, chilli, white wine and garlic; the tomatoes being plump and hearty, thankfully they had plenty of bread to soak up the inviting sauce.
Sticking with the seafood theme, I tried his marinated seafood skewers or I should say it is his mother’s recipe. The problem with skewers in any restaurant is you always feel short-changed when there is the lack of bulky pasta or potatoes to fill you up. To be fair, they make a sterling effort to present a fully plated dish with a decent quantity of vegetables to complement the delectable seafood offering. The seafood are well-seasoned and carefully selected: the tuna is line caught, the scallops are from the Isle of Man.
It is fascinating to find a crema catalana dessert on the menu, but as Gino helpfully explains Sardinia was under Spanish rule for over 400 years and is in close proximity to the Catalan coast. Incidentally you can be a top chef too, as Gino helpfully puts the pages where you will find the recipes in his cookbooks for all the dishes on his menu.
If you are looking for a more open-air environment, I would recommend their large terrace area, which overlooks Euston station. It is a great location for people spotting as well as making sure you won’t miss your train. Expect Gino’s restaurant to be highly popular with the commuters of Euston.