It’s nearly 4 years ago that one warm summer’s evening, Antonio and I stood in Church Street, Twickenham and deliberated over whether to eat in Masaniello or, on the opposite side of the road, Osteria Pulcinella. I can’t remember why we finally decided to go into Masaniello (click here for review) but I liked it so much, I have continued to go there regularly. It’s one of my favourite local restaurants. I’d planned to eat there last night. Antonio had suggested dinner one night this week so I walked to Masaniello to book a table. They were closed. (Later, a quick ‘chat’ with owner/head chef Livio on Twitter confirmed they were closed for a week for refurbishment.) So … I crossed the road, walked into Osteria Pulcinella and booked a table there instead.
I’ve been into the osteria quite a few times for morning coffee and have had lunch there – but not for quite a while. And I’d never been in the evening. There’s a warm, rustic feel inside and, like so many of Twickenham’s Italian restaurants and cafés (click here for Twickenham’s Little Italy), it’s run by Italians. The head chef, I was told – after asking – comes from Bari in Puglia. The rainy day had given way to a warm, dry evening and when we arrived the restaurant was very busy, so it was a good job I’d booked. We ordered some glasses of chilled Gavi wine and a plate of focaccia with olive oil and balsamic to start.
Antonio, who is quite fussy (in the best possible way!) about his focaccia thought it was quite good but it set up longings for him to return to Liguria, where the best focaccia is said to come from and where it originated (see Focaccia – Not A Single Story). He liked that it was fairly thin, rather than the thick kind of focaccia that’s often served in UK.
We both chose pasta main courses. Antonio’s was Ravioli Al Cinghiale – Homemade ravioli, wild boar & pink lady apples with sage butter.
He said it was very good and impressed that it clearly really was homemade. I meanwhile also chose ravioli but took a fish route: Ravioli Al Granchio – Homemade ravioli, crab meat, lemon zest & lobster bisque.
This was very good too: lovely pasta with a nice crab filling, while the lobster bisque was as rich and full of flavour as one would expect. We also ordered a side green salad to go with the mains.
The dessert menu came and Antonio ordered a Tiramisu. I ordered an extra spoon so I could share!
I’m very fussy about tiramisu. I’ve made a wonderful Carluccio recipe for years (click here), which I think is very authentic, so I can easily be disappointed. But I wasn’t disappointed last night; Osteria Pulcinella’s was very good – though after the rich pasta dish, it was enough to share a portion.
I enjoyed the meal. The service was excellent and friendly; there was a good buzzing atmosphere. The menu seemed to have richer, more buttery and creamy sauces (usually found in more northern regions of Italy, like Tuscany) than I find at Masaniello’s where the cooking reflects Livio’s Naples background and is based more on olive oil. But I nevertheless enjoyed the meal; it’s nice it’s a bit different and it’s also another good Italian in Twickenham where Italian – my favourite – food abounds!