Il Giardino Italian restaurant

There is a broad range of fish and seafood on offer with tuna, sea bream, sea bass, lobster and langoustines
Il Giardino Italian restaurant

Il Giardino, which means ‘the garden’ in Italian, has a new lease of life – as a modernised version of what it used to be.

Simply called Dan’s, it had always been one of my favourite haunts for its clubby atmosphere; now it has extra chic.

The décor is based on an attractive black and white theme and the garden has been greatly enhanced to seat over 50 people. It has the enviable advantage of having two entrances: one through the neighbouring garden centre, the other through the front door.

Wisely, they have kept the menu at reasonable prices, with a two course set meal for £14.50. A choice of four starters is offered, among them tagliatelle pasta with wild mixed mushrooms, clams, langoustines and prawns, cooked in a white wine and tomato sauce. To follow, you might opt for gnocchi a la gorgonzolaseriously naughty but seriously nice; spaghetti with baby squid; baked sea bass or pork scallops. All so lovely, decisions are hard!

We visited for dinner, sampling a selection of stewed eel with home made polenta; buffalo mozzarella with marinated aubergine, zucchini, roast peppers and asparagus; and the fresh baby octopus in a white wine and tomato sauce. Even a la carte, main courses are extremely reasonable, starting at £9.

I ordered the mouth watering pan-fried venison with apple ravioli; the apple enhancing the taste of the venison, a match made in heaven! My partner had delicious rack of lamb, perfectly cooked and served with wild mixed mushrooms. We also tried the Ossobucco (shin of veal), not often seen on menus and absolutely exquisite at £14.50, alongside the grilled sliced beef in a balsamic reduction, a culinary marvel.

There is a broad range of fish and seafood on offer too, with tuna, sea bream, sea bass, lobster and langoustines. I also had my eye on the homemade chestnut agnolotti with pheasant in white mushroom sauce, but perhaps next time!

Importantly, all the pastas are made in house and after your main course, why not indulge in a delicious dessert. The selection includes a great sharing plate- zabaglione, strawberries with balsamic vinegar and panna cotta.

To cap it off, the wine list is well chosen, inexpensive, and features lots of unusual small Italian vineyards.

TEL: 020 7352 2718
FAX: 020 7352 3265