I wasn’t sure I should write a review for Osteria, given that I wasn’t paying, I have no idea how much the final bill came to and I didn’t take any pictures… But… I’m too excited; I cannot not (sorry about the double negative there) tell everyone about the amazing food I was treated to.
This restaurant used to be the Water Rat pub, a place I used to spend many a Saturday night trying (and failing) to get served in when I was only 16. It then closed down, much to our dismay, but Osteria Dell’Arancio quickly took its place and has become an institution amongst the Chelsea bankers (so I’m told).
We managed to get a last-minute table – I was being taken by some regulars who know the management very well. Once settled in we perused the menu and had all but made our decision when the proprietor arrived, not quite rubbing his hands with glee but nearly, with a glass-cloched cheese board containing some HUGE fresh porcini mushrooms and some wonderfully stinky white truffles. Well, that changed everything. To start with we had two tagliolini with white truffles and one porcini salad. Now, I love truffles – a lot, but I’ve never allowed myself, or frankly been offered anywhere near this amount to eat all by myself! I couldn’t see the pasta which had been coated with what tasted like a mix of egg yolk and butter (sounds odd but was gorgeously rich and silky). It was heaven, it really was, just deleriously heavenly, weak-at-the-knees goodness. Once this had been polished off, using some bread to carefully ensure there were no traces of truffles left on the plate, we were treated to our main courses.
My cod was deliciously juicey and at the touch of the fork just fell apart letting the juices flow into the sauce. It was served with a cannellini bean and savoy cabbage mound that was an excellent compliment to the cod, seasoned perfectly. Pudding was a no as we were too full, but coffee and ‘hot water and lemon’ (sorry – I can’t do caffeine that late at night) followed.
The bottle of wine we had with dinner was spectacular – the somelier was told what we had ordered and he produced a bottle of red from the Piemonte region of Italy (the place best known for producing Antonio Carluccio and of course the world’s best white truffles. It was wonderful – obviously. They’ve also got one of those posh wine machines where they can serve really good wine by the glass, so you can actually go there and try all sorts of wines – I can’t promise they will be cheap, but I can promise they’ll be good and served in wonderful Italian way!
You can, I hope, now see my difficulty in reviewing this restaurant without a little bias towards the place, we had incredible food, beautiful wine, excellent service and I have no idea what the bill was. So, my advice would be; if you’re feel pretty flush and want a really decadent meal that will blow you socks off, but in a really comforting easy way – go to Osteria Dell’Arancio.