It was my first time back at Arte Chef since September 2014. I thought it was great when I went, but with its parent restaurant Masaniello just a 15-minute walk from home, it’s seemed so much easier to go there than taking a 20-minute drive to Barnes. But chef Livio Te’s Twickenham restaurant has become such a family favourite and we love his pizzas so much, Jonathan has been keen to try the Barnes ‘branch’ and so booked a table there for the family to celebrate Mother’s Day today.
Art Chef is open in the morning for coffee and pastries; lunch for pizza, sandwiches, pasta and salads; and in the evening for dinner. Chef-owners Livio and his business partner Aristotile Candito are both from Naples, traditionally trained in Italy and of course grew up with fantastic Neopolitan pizza; indeed Livio’s family had a pizzeria there. Thus the pizza they cook in their traditional brick oven is quite simply one of the best you’ll find in London.
It was as well Jonathan had booked as the restaurant was full. We were 4 adults, 3-year-old Freddie and 4-month old Benjamin (who obviously wasn’t about to tuck into pizza, although looked as if he’d like to give it a try). Freddie was told of the Kids’ Menu choice but inevitably opted for pizza. It was fun to see he could choose rabbit, fish or mouse shape. He chose mouse! And apple juice to drink.
The decor is simple but bright and attractive; we all liked it a lot. In the summer you can sit in the garden, as I did the first time, which makes it a particularly attractive place to go for weekend lunch with the family. In the evening it becomes more of a restaurant with a more grown-up menu.
None of the grown-ups wanted sandwiches or salads; we all wanted pizza. Lyndsey and I chose Capricciosa with tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, mushrooms and olives.
Nicola chose one which was half folded and stuffed with aubergine with fresh rocket, mozzarella and tomatoes on the rest.
Jonathan had Salamino with tomato sauce, spicy sausages and fresh basil, with an extra of aubergine.
They were all fabulous. Of course they didn’t come all together but arrived a couple at time as they came out of the oven right behind us, straight on to plates and to our table. They couldn’t have been fresher and they couldn’t have been more delicious. Over recent years London has become home to some wonderful pizza and you no longer have to go to Italy to enjoy an authentic Neopolitan pizza, but Art Chef (and Masaniello) really are in the top league of the best you can find.
In celebratory mood for Mother’s Day dessert was a ‘must’, though it has to be said we were already feeling pretty full. Jonathan and Lyndsey shared a Tiramisu (good but not quite the right balance of ingredients). Freddie was delighted to find his ice cream (he’d had a choice of vanilla, strawberry, chocolate or pistachio) came with little marshmallows.
Nicola and I shared a Roasted Fig Tart served with Vanilla Ice cream.
This was delicious. Three of us had coffee and then, after a lovely lunch, relaxed and full, it was time to go home. And what a lovely Mother’s Day it had been.