Italian deli and restaurant in Chiswick
The family run Valentina Fine Foods have just opened their seventh branch in Chiswick, bringing their brand of homely Italian charm to my neck of suburbia. The front of the store serves as a delicatessen, selling essentials from the Lazio region of Italy. Shelves groan under the weight of assorted pastas, antipasti, olive oils, jams and honeys. An olive bar is also available, stocked from the annually harvested family grove, or pick from cheeses, charcuterie, cakes and freshly baked breads. The restaurant at the back of the shop is ideal for young families to refuel after a wander down the common and high street, and I can see why it’s so busy.
The restaurant serves food which is comforting, humble and relatively cheap. Starters and desserts all hover around £5, whilst mains can be had from £10. Plates are whisked out of the kitchen at an impressive pace, laden with freshly made pasta, risotto and gnocchi, our creamy bowlfuls rich with gorgonzola and toasted walnuts. From the antipasti section try the Timballo; a column of roasted butternut squash layered with spinach, sun blushed tomatoes and crumbled goats cheese.
The mains are more divisive, and whilst my companions swordfish with caper, olive and tomato sauce is to his liking, my calves liver with risotto is far less convincing.
Valentina is free of pretension: the food is simple, affordable and filling. The locals have taken to it exceedingly well, and the restaurant remains full and buzzing throughout the afternoon. Valentina also offers a build-a-hamper service in all its branches, allowing customers to select their own Italian produce with the choice of three hamper sizes: 12 inches (£9.95), 14 inches (£12.95) and 18 inches (£19.95). Alternatively hampers can be ordered online before 18th December for Christmas delivery.
Fill your baskets with specialities that include Prato Belli Amarettini biscuits, Feletti chocolate pralines with cream, Baratti & Milano chocolate truffles and apricot nibbles. From the look of them, they would make an excellent gift (hint, hint), so choose your booty wisely and have a very merry Christmas!
Tube: Chiswick Park
Address: 210 Upper Richmond Road West, London SW14 8AH
Tel: 020 8392 9127