An oldie but goodie.
Jimmy and I have recently had to relocate from our beloved Notting Hill for 5 days whilst our flat is being painted. However, to our good fortune (and on the goodwill of Jimmy’s brother and sister-in-law) we have taken up lodgings, with them, in London’s Chelsea.
This area was an old ‘stomping ground’ (for lack of a better phrase) of mine and actually it’s been very comforting to walk down old streets, revisit old shops and cafes that seem so familiar and its incredibly encouraging to know that although we live in such a fast-paced world which changes all the time, some things really do just stay the same. Daphne’s is just one of those things.
Reassuringly unchanged (even with the significant prices) but I hope will always stay that way.
Hidden away on Chelsea’s Draycott Avenue, Daphne’s, has become a slight forgotten hero on London’s restaurant scene. However, I feel it is my duty to remind you all why we continue to love this reliable Italian eatery.
Jimmy and I arrive 30 minutes early for our reservation (standard impatient greediness) this couldn’t have been less of a problem. We sat down and when our menus arrive my eyes start ferociously scanning every line…I mean…for god’s sake I want everything!
However, I finally decide on Atlantic prawns with Escarole and Sorrel to start and Jimmy has Baked Rigatoni alla Sorrentina. The prawns arrive glistening and dressed I delicious crisp leaves with a delicious rich dressing with slices of cool avocado. An Italian version of a prawn cocktail…yummy.
The Rigatoni couldn’t have been more Italian…simple deep flavoured tomato sauce and al dente pasta with sprigs of basil on the top (and from the Missoni family cookbook)…I mean…classic.
I then had Tuna with Peperonata & Aged Balsamic and Jimmy had Chargrilled squid with Zucchine and Nduja. Both plates were exceptional. Exceptional in the way that they delivered exactly what they said they would. You could taste each flavour and each flavour just complimented the others. Simple uncomplicated cooking.
(Please excuse the images they aren’t the most appetising but we actually couldn’t wait to dig in!)
(However, prior to the primi and secondi, the bread basket arrived. Disaster. Stale/bland just a no…. restaurant bread is not a forte in Italy. I mean we ate in anyway as despite that, and for a reason unbeknown to me, Resturant bread is just always irresistible)
We asked for the pudding menus straight away after our plates were brisky whipped away. However, we were not taken by anything (mostly coffee or liquor based puddings and actually I really don’t like Tiramisu). Jimmy then casually mentions ‘Bibendum are doing a Tarte Tatin (his favourite thing) ice cream. Shall we go and try it?” I mean no answer needed. We paid the bill and went round the corner to the Michelin building.
Now…I won’t go into too much detail as I am due to post my Shreddie Milk Ice Cream recipe (and frankly I am a bit jealous of how much Jimmy enjoyed this) but it was a very good ice cream to have on a post dinner stroll on a warm Wednesday evening.
The ice cream itself was perfumed with tatin pastry but the sweet fruity apple flavour was in the compote that was drizzled across the top and also hidden in the bottom of the cone (very clever). The perfect way to wrap up the evening.
Il Dolce Far Niente (the sweetness of doing nothing) a saying the Italians live by and that my friends is Daphne’s. It doesn’t need to try any harder as it is satisfactory just the way it is. And it’s still bustling, it’s still chic, it’s still delicious and it’s still standing…so I urge you to please go back next time you are being nostalgic in Chelsea.
X 2 Primi
x 2 Secondi
x 2 side dishes
x 2 Coffee
1 x bottle of sparkling water
Total: £112 (without alcohol)
Rating (0-5) ***