Saturday, 30 September 2017

Radici, Islington, London Italian restaurant review

Francesco Mazzei is a Calabrian chef with a big reputation. Perennially tipped for a Michelin star at his previous restaurant L’anima, he now runs the equally swish Sartoria on Saville Row.

Radici, located opposite the Almeda theatre in Islington, is his new entry level restaurant. 

The menu reads well across the board with cicchetti, antipasti, primi, secondi, sides and desserts all vying for attention.

I’ve heard talk that whenever Francesco is in the kitchen at one of his restaurants you’re guaranteed a good meal. At other times, things can be a bit more hit and miss. Francesco wasn’t around when we visited.

Cicchetti included perfectly cooked calamari (£7.50) with an overly-sweet chilli jam. 

Meatballs (£7.50) had a disappointingly dense processed texture but combined well with a spicy tomato sauce and a good dollop of mash. 

‘Nduja (£4.50) on toast had been strangely combined with cream cheese to mitigate the spreadable sausage’s chilli heat (one of its main selling points). Toast for accompanying tomato bruschetta was also sadly on the soggy side.

My primi of taglierini, fagioli beans and pancetta (£13) was a triumph. Silky pasta, meaty beans and an intense porky broth were topped with a liberal grating of savoury cheese. 

Lasagna (£13) was great too. The light take on the dish saw beef ragu and grana padano cheese piled on top of thin layers of pasta. 

Fettuccine with mussels and calamari (£13) were bathed in a well-flavoured sauce but let down by the cardinal sin of overcooked pasta. 

Mains continued the mixed bag.

Cod pizzaola (£16) was a bit bland; the flaky fish fillet and soft peppers were joined by a watery tomato sauce. 

Sweet calf liver (£18) was served with fragrant sage butter and crisp leaves, smooth mash and rashers of salty pancetta. It was an excellent dish except for a solitary tough piece of liver. 

A calabrese pizza (£12), slathered with fiery ‘nduja, light tomato sauce and mozzarella, was very good too. 

Courgette fries (£6) were the highlight of the meal. An overflowing cup of courgette fronds were coated in crisp, salty batter. Just give me a bowl of these and a couple of ice cold beers and I’d be a very happy man.

Desserts were an unqualified success. A rum baba (£7) was light, delicately boozy and fragranced with orange.

Chocolate tart (£6.50) was super crisp with a rich ganache and added luxury in the form of meringue shards and pistachio and strawberry pieces. 

A textbook tiramisu (£6.50) was big on alcohol and chocolate.

All in all, Radici was a hit and miss affair. Whilst we had a lovely evening at the restaurant, at £65 a head (including a couple of bottles of wine shared between 5), I’d expect more consistency for my money.

The Details:

Address - Radici, 30 Almeida Street, London N1 1AD
Web -
Telephone - 020 7354 4777

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