Life's A Beach At Spiaggia London!
I love a hint of winter in London (and even secretly dream of some snow at the New Years Eve!) - but then I quickly remind myself how everything stops and stands still when it snows in the city, and how much of a beach bum I am! Luckily, whether planes, trains and cars take a break during the rare snowed-out moments, there is one place in London that is quarantined to bathe you in beach vibes no matter the weather. Say hello to Spiaggia, a new Italian beach bar and restaurant in the heart of Fulham. Oh, and let me apologise in advance for an overly-excited tone of this review - I really loved the place and came back a few times since my first Spiaggia experience! :)
With its sun-kissed quirky beach-inspired design of sunny mediterranean palette of warm yellows and cool aquas (notice 'reserved' beach towels, booths, deck chairs or sun loungers), Spiaggia is so not what you expect from your 'average Italian restaurant': it's a social club designed to fill the time its guests spent there with fun, joy and summer vibes.
Before you dive into the mouthwatering menu of Italian tapas, pastas and bbq grills alongside speciality cocktails, artisanal beers and wines, check out the basement where you will find the 'Lower Deck' lounge and games room, with weekly movies and sporting events shown on a big cinema screen. With bespoke set menus and private hire also available, any special occasion can be turned into an real beach party (minus the actual beach of course)! (Oh, and have I mentioned that there is free popcorn for all? There you have it!)
Sounds too good to be true? Wait till you hear about Spiaggia's menu! Represented by Italian tapas, pastas and bbq grills, the menu has Italian specialities we all love, with a twist, and is perfect for sharing (trust me, even if usually you are not big on sharing, at Spiaggia you will want to try everything on the menu, and the portions are really good - so do try and share food with friends!:) ).
Prepare yourself for Italian tapas plates called pattini, with arancini, salmon carpaccio, seared tuna and pollo pops to choose from, and piadinas – thin Italian flatbreads with Salami Napoli, Mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes or Provolone cheese and roasted peppers with Borlotti bean and chilli mash. My friend and lifestyle expert Sarah Highfield went for some piattinis and piadinas, as well as Aubergine parmigiana bites, Smoked chicken and cheese croquettes, Fresh calamari with aioli and Bosca flatbread with truffle oil.
You can tell that the man behind Spiaggia, Mish Hidad, as well as the chef and the entire restaurant team take pride in sourcing high quality ingredients and preparing it in the way that it opens up the food's natural flavours and treats you to the real gourmet experience. The starters were so delicious, I could probably live on Aubergine parmigiana bites! The portions are reasonably sized, too - so definitely come hungry! With such a mind-blowing start to our dinner I couldn't help but wonder how much better it can get, and it did! With smashingly amazing main courses.
Spiaggia menu offers a great selection of main courses, including best of pastas (you can order gluten-free version, too!), large salads, speidini (chargilled skewers from the robata grill) and a choice of specialities, among which Spiaggia Burger with truffle mayo in my opinion is an absolute winner!
During my first visit I ordered the Tagliatelle al ragu, while Sara went for Spaghetti alle vongole (clams, garlic, chilli & parsley). We shared the Beef fillet speidinis, too. I could tell Sarah absolutely loved her pasta and I thought mine was so delicious - with a very generous portion of beef and cooked in line with old Italian traditions. On my second visit I couldn't help but have a bite of Spiaggia Burger with truffle mayo that my friend ordered, and this one was to die for!
If you are a big fan of burgers and a huge fan of truffle, then Spiaggia Burger is perfect for you. The beef was juicy and truffle mayo was absolutely delicious, so that I ordered some more on the side for my chips. I will stop now - you've got an idea, and it's time you go try it yourself! ;)
Last but not least, you will find a tempting selection of Italian desserts (including compulsory panna cotta and tiramisu, as well as Italian ice-creams and sorbets and Seasonal Semifeddo). I was so full I didn't have space for dessert but if you do manage to save some - let me know how it goes - I am pretty sure the desserts are fantastic, too!
If you need any more convincing (doubt so, but still!), try anything on Spiaggia's drinks menu, including speciality cocktails, artisanal beers and wines, and plan for its happy hour (every day 5-7pm). It's always a good time to hit the Spiaggia, where summer never ends...
And finally, something I can totally relate to (picture courtesy of Spiaggia Facebook page):