I had another great outing with the London Italian Language Meetup Group this evening. An aperitivo evening had been organised at Fratelli La Bufala in Knightsbridge and that was one Meetup I definitely couldn’t miss! I went to this branch of Fratelli La Bufala recently to be introduced to The Sicilian Chef, Enzo Oiveri, owner of the restaurant. Soon after, I interviewed him for the blog (click here). I met Enzo in the morning for coffee and was keen to return to sample their food properly, so tonight’s aperitivo was a perfect opportunity.
The ‘London Italian’ is a wonderful group of people and their outings are always really great: very friendly people (mostly Italians) and a wide variety of events. For the Italians it’s a way of meeting fellow Italians living in London; for the non-Italians like me it’s an opportunity to practise our Italian (some knowledge of Italian is required to join). My ever patient teacher, Fabio, will be pleased to hear that I was required to speak a lot of Italian this evening. Sometimes when I find myself talking with other English members it slips … tonight I needed to keep going!
The restaurant is in a little alleyway that runs between Knightsbridge and Brompton Road, quite near to Sloane Street. We’d been given a private area down in the basement. The welcome was friendly and our names ticked off a list (58 of us were expected and the event was sold out) as we arrived and we paid the agreed £7.50 for the aperitivo buffet and a drink of choice (I had a glass of prosecco but there was wine, Aperol spritzer, beers and other drinks). Of course, the aperitivo food put on for these events is inevitably a bit variable and according to venue, but as soon as I went through to the area reserved for our group I could immediately see the most fabulous array of food. Wow!
This wasn’t just a few nice snacks to nibble on with an early evening drink … this was a meal. First though, it was a time to mingle, meet up with old friends, introduce oneself to new. Drink orders were taken and friendly waiters brought them through to us. Once most people had arrived word was given that we could start eating: ‘Mangiamo!’ Simon, the organiser, called out.
There were plates to be filled. And lots of choices to fill them with.
There were three big tables of food: there was no way anyone was going home hungry. There were arancini, bruschette, fritttata, grilled aubergine wrapped around smoked cheese, broccoli florets fried in a light batter, crostini with tuna or ricotta. Fabulous pizza came downstairs from the wood-fired oven on the ground floor.
It was all excellent; really wonderful food. And there was dolce – dessert – too:
All drinks after the first (included in the price) had to be paid for separately. I thought £7.50 for another glass of prosecco a bit steep but it was a good sized glass and a good prosecco, and since the aperitivo was amazing value, I didn’t mind. You can go to Fratelli La Bufala anytime for early evening aperitivo but I can’t find a price on their website to tell you their ‘normal’ price and I think ours was a special deal for our group – but definitely worth looking at. Aperitivo is a fantastic way to get together with friends early evening when you don’t necessarily want a large meal. Aperitivo is a big thing in Italy, and sometimes when you order an early evening drink in a bar in Rome, Venice, Naples, wherever, a little bit of food just comes with it.
It was a great evening and such a good place to discover in that expensive part of town if you want somewhere reasonably priced to go for a meal or a snack or pizza – or, of course, aperitivo!