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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Antonio's

For Friday's dinner, we decided to try Antonio's Italian restaurant in Angel. It's tucked down a private little cobbled mews on Upper Street so it's got a very intimate feel about it. It would be a great place to go for a date - soft lighting, spine - tingling opera playing, and of course the sort of seductive food that the Italians are famous for. 
They describe their style of service as "theatrical", and that is probably a good word for it. Our waiter was very attentive (sometimes perhaps a little too attentive) but also knowledgeable about the menu and the origin of the ingredients - refreshing given that in a lot of places the staff don't even know what the soup of the day is. 

To start we had Gamberoni e Calamari (king prawn and squid done in a white wine, garlic, chilli and red pepper sauce), Fritto Misto (mixed deep fried seafood), Funghi all'Aglio - garlicy mushrooms in a cream sauce, and a soft parma ham and truffle crêpe. 
Truffles are extremely rare and are found in woodland as they grow around trees. Pigs and hounds are specially trained to forage for them, and there are many different types. Truffles have a wonderfully earthy mushroom - like taste, and are used sparingly in cooking because they are so expensive. The flavour is strong and seeps into everything - probably why it's used to infuse oil and vodka.
I had pieces of soft soft fillet steak with shavings of black truffle and a thick cream sauce. My mashed potato also had a heady taste of truffle so I definitely had my fill! 
Tomasz had Pollo alla Griglia- char-grilled chicken with roast new potatoes, sundried tomatoes, and salsa rosa of red pepper, red onions and tarragon. I think he enjoyed it, because I didn't even get a look in! 
My Dad's Truffle Tagliatelle 
Now, the puddings. They were even more divine. This one is Cannolo siciliano - a Sicilian cinnamon pastry dessert, typically filled with creamy ricotta, flavoured with oranges and dusted with icing sugar. 
  
Kate did some brilliant ordering here. I didn't like the sound of the Salame di Cioccolato (chocolate salami with mascarpone cream), but when it came there was no meat in sight. Instead, a rich and flourless cocoa torte, studded with biscuity pieces. A very nice surprise - and even nicer because she shared it with me! 
As a nice touch we were all offered a glass of Le Passule, a sweet dessert wine which tasted of honey and apricots. 
Completely stuffed, we climbed into a taxi and into our beds (after watching Eastenders of course...)

We would definitely come to Antonio's again. It wasn't very busy for Friday night (probably because it was so hot), but still enough people to make it cosy and atmospheric. We booked our table, but changed the time about three times and they were very accommodating. The staff are passionate and eager to make your experience as enjoyable as possible - but get the hint if you want to be left alone! 
Prices are not overly steep either (well, except my fillet steak with truffles!) 

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