Tarantella - So Good He Went There Twice!
M Devito discovers a simple family run Italian trattoria right on his doorstep
In Italy it is always a pleasure to find, or return to a no frills, no airs and graces tiny little family run trattoria or pizzeria for a meal, it’s a pleasure because you know the food is at the very least going to be good, will always be made with great care, will only use the freshest of seasonal ingredients and the table wine will be local, coming from grapes grown in the surrounding countryside.
The majority of these family run trattorias are part of Italy’s slow food movement, they haven’t joined the movement – they are it, as they stubbornly continue practicing their trade in exactly the same way they have done for generations.
All I know is the food sure tastes good.
We’ve just found a place here in Chiswick that’s about as close as we’re going to get to a simple family run Italian trattoria. It’s called the Tarantella.
After recently moving house, we found ourselves without a working kitchen for a couple of weeks, and were eating out more than usual, eventually, towards the end of this period we got round to trying the Tarantella for lunch. We both ordered a pizza margherita (£6.50) and I had a glass of house red wine, it was a very good pizza, the real thing. That’s an excellent sign we thought, and as it happens the wine was made from a grape variety, sangiovese, that I recognised from our meals in trattorias in central Italy.
As it wasn’t particularly busy we chatted, as you do, with one of the guys who worked there, and he told us a little about the Tarantella, (which incidentally looks and feels tiny, but can seat up to 35 at any one time). It’s not part of a chain, but independently owned by three Italian guys, has been open for about a year and it replaced an Italian restaurant called ‘That’s Amore’, there is no connection.
They take pleasure in using only the best quality and freshest of ingredients, and proudly he told us they make all their own pasta, pizza, focaccia and gnocchi dough fresh everyday. That impressed me.
Our family (nine adults and a baby) decided to go there for one of our family get togethers, Mothers Day in this particular case, and so booked a table for 2.30pm on Mothering Sunday.
The assembled around the table ordered their food from both the daily specials menu which was reassuringly short, and the main menu, including; Bruschetta (£4.20), Fettuccine con Frutti di Mare (£8.50), Gnocchi with pancetta, baby tomatoes & porcini (£9.50), Pizza Margherita (6,50), Saltimbocca £11.50), Roast cod served with chick peas, porcini & fresh tomatoes (£14.50), Controfiletto ai Porcini (£15,50).
We drank the house red wine; Sangiovese (£11.25). The food arrived, and the plates emptied. The food was good, honest, hearty and tasted as if some Italian mamma had cooked it for her family.
For dessert, those that had room ordered Semifreddo, Tiramisu or Ciocolato Fonduta. All home made. I can’t tell you whether they were delicious or not, as I didn’t order a dessert and was not offered a taste of any either, I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
It surprised me to learn that the three guys who own, prepare, cook and serve the food at the Tarantella are all from southern Italy; Apulia, Calabria, and Naples in Campania, as they include many dishes from other regions, as well as those from their own. I’d personally be even more delighted if it was all southern Italian in style, which is my particular favourite.
Lunch for our family of 9 adults included; plenty of wine, water, a pasta or pizza each, followed by a meat or fish dish, then dessert, coffees, and a couple of grappas. It all added up to a really nice time…and came to £37 a head including service.
Now, if we feel like a meal at a good pizzeria or trattoria, and we’re unfortunately over here, rather than over there, we can visit Francesco, Giuseppe and Domenico.