Restaurant Review: Lunch at Tinello
When my friend Bogac and I agreed a time to meet for lunch in central London and he asked me to suggest somewhere good, Tinello immediately came to mind. I’ve been wanting to go back to this fabulous Italian restaurant since interviewing head chef, Federico Sali, in June. The Sali brothers, Federico and Max, worked at Locanda Locatelli until they opened Tinello in 2010. Federico had been head chef and Max the sommelier. Giorgio Locatelli is part owner of Tinello.
Tinello is just my kind of place. I love its friendly, informal sophistication. And the food is so wonderful, so truly Italian, that eating there is an enormous pleasure. There’s a relaxed menu. You can go formal with antipasti, wonderful pastas and tempting main courses. But you can also just order a few of their ‘small plates’, tapas style, to share. I suggested to Bogac that we ordered two or three small plates to share and then have a pasta as a main course. But first of all there was the gorgeous bread basket, some of their home-made pickled vegetables and a glass of Soave Classico.
We ordered Burrata and Tomato Bread, Parmigiana di Melanzane and Fried Courgettes to start.
The creamy burrata was wonderful, the parmigiana rich and luscious, and I hadn’t been able to resist the gorgeous fried courgettes again – they are so good! Federico also kindly sent us others from the kitchen.
Some delicious Salami with Shallots, Parsley & Capers Salad, and some Tuscan Ham & Honey Melon. The salami – soppressata – and parsley salad was a fantastic combination of flavours; the Tuscan ham perfectly matched the sweet melon. For my main course I couldn’t resist having the wonderful Sicilian Prawn & Pea Risotto that I’d tasted the first time I went to Tinello. I’ve been telling lots of people about this risotto since June!
The Sicilian prawns are quite simply the most amazing, wonderful prawns I’ve ever eaten. The risotto was, of course, cooked to perfection: the al dente of the rice, that gorgeous sloppy, creamy consistency that a good risotto should have, but, above all, the most glorious flavour of the prawns. Bogac meanwhile had chosen Homemade Smoked Mozzarella Parcel with Beetroot Sauce.
This looked great and when I had a taste it was really wonderful: perfect pasta, creamy smokey mozzarella and the sweetness of the beetroot sauce matching it so well.
We were pretty full by now but very nicely so. What amazing food. We decided we only had room for an espresso; no dessert … but the coffees came with lovely bite-sized choux parcels filled with zabaglione, so we had a little dessert. Tinello is such a special place. The food is extraordinarily good but the warm welcome from Max and Federico and their staff makes it such a pleasing place to eat. I know I’m going to want to go back again and again.