Newly opened Theo’s Simple Italian is Chef Theo Randall’s second restaurant, this one near Earl’s Court and tied to The Hotel Indigo. Like his eponymous restaurant at The Intercontinental, this venture features expertly prepared dishes of top quality and seasonal Italian ingredients just with a smaller menu (fairly ‘smaller’ prices too) that changes on a more frequent basis and is presented in a more casual setting.
Finding out about the opening of Theo’s Simple Italian presented a very simple choice for an Italian food lover like me. I had to try it. And I’m so glad I did.
Head Chef William Leoni (who worked with Randall for years at the Intercontinental) fills a menu of cichetti, antipasti, primi, secondi, contorni, and dolci with a tasty assortment of dishes that pay more than nominal attention to Italian fish and seafood recipes.
Cichetti such as grilled polenta topped with white cod mouse (£3.50) and spicy veal, beef and pork meatballs with burrata (£3.50) work perfectly as bar snacks, small starters or ‘tapas’ style sharing plates. In particular the super moist and tender meatballs served in a bowl of especially savoury red sauce with a toasted piece of bread to sop it all up with) deeply impressed. God, was it good.
Keeping with the Simple Italian theme, pasta courses – prepared on order – appear to be the highlight of any dining experience at Theo’s. I was certainly wowed by the two primi I got a taste of. Perfectly al dente linguine with clams, Sardinian artichokes and bottarga (£11 as a starter, £18.50 as a main) provided full-on comfort food joy for a gourmet’s palate while calamarata allo scoglio with prawns, mussels, squid and fish (£11/£18.50) was as satisfying as any pasta dish I’ve had in in quite a while.
Sambuca semi freddo with coffee essence (£6) tasted even better – and more intriguing – than it sounds.
The decidedly Italian wine list is broad with plenty of by the glass choices. A bottle of Sicilian grillo paired well with the seafood dishes.
Digs are spacious and inviting with much of the dining area filled with natural light. Service during my visit was on the ball, helpful and friendly. I’d be delighted to eat there again – and hope I can manage to get back there soon.
Theo’s Simple Italian is located at 34-44 Barkston Gardens, SW5 0EW. Find out more at theossimpleitalian.co.uk.