We are huge fans of restaurants that serve the local community with authentic, well-sourced food in a relaxed environment, somewhere you would happily visit on a regular basis when you don’t feel like cooking at home. Vicino, is one such restaurant; it is in a very suburban part of Parsons Green and did rapidly fill up with local residents even on a supposedly quiet Wednesday night when we visited. Most of the diners were in smart casual clothing, but the restaurant has a very quaint, welcoming charm with colourful flower beds at the front and retro lampshades on the ceiling as well as ornate plates hung on the walls.
I would say most of the dishes are very classically prepared, traditional Italian offerings. A vast amount of the starters are easy to prepare, but the importance is in the sourcing of the ingredients. Dishes like Parma ham and tuna tartare don’t require cooking but tasted superbly fresh because they have spent time sourcing the best ingredients whether it is in the UK or from Italy. Burrata can vary in quality tremendously; just try buying some from Tesco and then trying the version at Vicino. Their cheese is moist, creamy and plush tasting.
Increasingly a lot of Italian restaurants are offering lobster spaghetti in London. They all claim to be reasonably priced but often just random bits of lobster meat or if you are lucky 1/2 a lobster. For £29.50, you get a whole lobster with the meat being very well marinated with tomato, garlic and chilli sauce. The flavours soak in invitingly to the al dente spaghetti, so much so you might be tempted to ask for more spaghetti.
I wouldn’t normally order beef sirloin at an Italian restaurant, but their meat had a nice chew with beefy flavours and wasn’t overly lean. The head chef has thought out carefully the taste profile of all his dishes; nothing taste bland here, as the steak comes with marinated artichokes and parmesan shavings.
Following classic recipes, their tiramisu tasted strong on the alcohol front with coffee punch and amaretto liqueur but did taste more mousse than cake in texture. On the other hand the chocolate and passionfruit cheesecake was a little overly dense and dry.
The management had that amicable Italian touch in walking around checking customer satisfaction with a personal touch, although we did have a slightly hiccup at the beginning having to ask for a glass of wine 3 times before it was brought over.
If you are tired of fancy fusion food and exotic sounding menus, Vicino is a family friendly, honest Italian restaurant for you to consider as an alternative.