My friend Kate was treating me to a late birthday lunch and we decided to meet in Debraggio in Richmond, where we’ve met before. We’re both Italophiles. Indeed, a few years ago we used to meet up once a week to practise our Italian and made a trip to Rome together.
There’s been an Italian deli cum cafe-restaurant at 1 Duke Street in Richmond – which runs from the high street to Richmond Green – for a number of years. It was once Giuliano’s and then turned in Debraggio and I didn’t go for some time. Mainly because of the wonderful Italian restaurants and delis we have in Twickenham, a bit closer to home. But then Kate asked me a little while ago if there was somewhere ‘like Corto Deli’ in Richmond and I mentioned Debraggio … and she had such a good lunch I went back with her.
There are a few counter seats downstairs in the deli, but upstairs there are tables and waiter service. It’s all very simple and ideal for lunch. They write the menu on a blackboard – and if you’re so inclined, you can take a look in the deli downstairs to get an idea of the food.
They had some wonderful ‘specials’ like black spaghetti with garlic prawns – and I’d seen the large, wonderful prawns in the cool cabinet downstairs. There’s a good choice of food, from filled ciabatta, to main dishes – mainly pasta, but also risottos, frittata and chicken Milanese – and salads. So you can go for either a light lunch or a more substantial meal. The last time I was there, I chose the filled ciabatta with Italian meatballs, mozzarella and spicy pesto (£7.90 to eat in). It was absolutely fabulous. So good in fact that I thought I’d have it again today. But then Kate saw the vegetarian antipasti option and we asked the waitress about it and decided it would be nice to share that. Kate also fancied the Caprese salad to go with it but the helpful waitress told us there was some in the antipasti, so we decided to wait and if we wanted more food, we could order extra later. As it happened, there was plenty of food for lunch in the one plate of antipasti (about £12 – I forgot to make a note).
It was a gorgeous plate of food: bruschetta, Caprese salad of tomatoes and mozzarella, Melanzane Parmigiana (which was wonderful!), roasted carrots and beetroot, cauliflower and broccoli, roasted peppers and some olives. It was really excellent. This was all freshly prepared food; no pre-prepared from jars as you sometimes get in an antipasti mix. This was ‘home’ cooking of the best kind.
We had some wine with it – on the basis it was a birthday treat! I rarely drink alcohol at lunchtime. Afterwards we were asked if we wanted dessert and I said, No thanks. However, the waitress suggested we might like one of their home-made cannoli with our coffees, so we did. They were a perfect little treat.
Downstairs, Kate paid while I took some photos. The prepared food is really good – either for eating in or takeaway. You can see it’s freshly made and is high quality.
There are larder goods like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta, biscuits, as well as Italian cheeses and cooked meats. They have a good selection of Italian wines too.
Debraggio is an independent family run restaurant. They ‘cook with passion, using fresh quality ingredients to produce authentic Italian food’. It’s a friendly place serving excellent food and I know I’m going to go more often now I’ve rediscovered it. They’re open 8.30am-6.00pm Mon-Sat and are closed on Sundays.