Italian.. it’s not all just about pizza and pasta. Say we’re going out for Italian, and it’s still the first thing which springs to mind. Plus, the thought that I could probably make it at home. But there are some other fantastic Italian classics and delicacies. Ones I forget, I must admit. That’s until my recent visit to Chucs…
Chucs Restaurant is the sister concept to the 1950s swimwear and men’s fashion label of the same name, founded by Charles Finch. There are just four locations, all in London, serving up classic Italian cuisine. Chucs says each location offers an exquisite setting to dine. The Westbourne Grove spot sure radiated a classy, sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere. The interior was filled with sleek red tables with metallic trim, stone fabrics and leather booths. There were photographs (we believe of Italy) on the walls, and table lamps on every table. It was beautiful.
The menu isn’t overly extensive, yet it’s still a little overwhelming.
There are eight starters on the current menu. They all looked delicious, from the Frito Misto & Zucchini to the Burrata with Rocket & Cherry Tomatoes. We stuck with the complimentary bread basket of fresh white, granary & crisp bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as well as the olives, walnuts, cheese and honey to save space. This is definitely the way to start an Italian feast! We loved the walnut board, and the granary bread had a delicious flavour.
The mains offering featured six homemade pasta dishes, six Chucs classics and six Secondi choices, so as you can expect this is where the decisions became harder.
There were some fantastic sounding options including the Saffron Risotto with Goats Cheese, Fresh Spaghetti with Truffle, Pizza Bianca with Smoked Salmon & Rocket and Harrisa Lamb with Grilled Courgette. They even offered gluten free versions and there were a number of vegetarian options.
The Grilled Fillet Of Seabass with Sicilian Caponata is a must for any Seabass fan – of which I am one, as was my plus one. This is the dish we probably would have fought over who was having, if we hadn’t agreed to share everything. The Seabass was tender and flaky, with a fantastic crispy skin and delicate flavour. The caponata was soft, mild in flavour as not to overpower the Seabass, but tasty in its own right.
The Chicken Milanese, an Italian classic, was super tasty finished with a squeeze of zesty lemon. The chicken was thin, with a light crumbly breadcrumb and Parmesan coating, giving it one fab flavour.
There are a handful of sides too, to accompany the mains – definitely get a couple and share. The Hand-cut chips were chunky, reminding us of chip shop style, yet not greasy, and they were pretty tasty alone and together with both of the above. The Grilled Courgette was served in thick ribbons, in a little pile, lightly grilled with an almost smokier flavour. Both fab choices for alongside the Seabass and chicken Milanese.
Be sure to save space for a dessert…even a small one…
There are just four desserts, including dark chocolate ice cream, Affogato, tiramisu and creme brûlée. There was just one way to finish such a fantastic meal for us…with an Affogato. I’m a big coffee lover! The espresso was rich and smooth, and the ice cream super creamy, with a potent vanilla flavour. One fab Affogato.
As for drinks, the wine menu was obviously a key focus, being an Italian spot, although we were tempted by the word cocktail when the menus were put down (of which there were a handful to choose from). The waiter recommended a pinot which was beautifully crisp, not overly dry, which we both ended up having. It complimented the appetisers, chicken, fish and vegetables perfectly.
One lovely, relaxed, evening catching up over delicious food. The waiters and hosts were attentive, fab with recommendations, and patient when we still needed time to decide – and even just let us sit to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere for a short while once we’d finished.
- Price: starters between £9.50 and £16, mains from £12 to £31, desserts between £6 and £8.50, and wine at about £8 a glass – it’s a little more expensive than your usual midweek dinner reservation, but it’s definitely worth it. Perhaps for a more special occasion or catch-up?
- Food: beautiful. Delicious flavours. Go for the Seabass, and most definitely finish with an Affogato
- Drinks: the main focus is most definitely the wine menu (the Pinot was delicate and delicious), but there are cocktails and other options too.
- Atmosphere: classy, sophisticated yet relaxed. Gorgeous interior.
- Wait: it’s in a relatively busy area (being on the edge of Portobello Road), so do book, although walking might be possible.
A highly recommended Italian spot! Where have you tried recently?
*I was invited along to review for East London Girl, but it was SO good I wanted to share with you too!