When you step through the doors of Il Portico in Kensington High Street you could be forgiven for thinking that you have stepped into someone’s home in Italy. The welcome is warm and the hospitality immediately makes you feel at home. The atmosphere is lively without being noisy or over the top and you can immediately tell that the staff are there to ensure that you do the most important thing in a restaurant – enjoy the food. The charming waiter who served us described the specials of the day in a loving way that really made you want to eat everything on the menu – which over time I intend to do.
On our latest visit, though, I couldn’t resist going back to something we had on our first meal there – Sardine alla Genovese. These are fresh, grilled Dorset sardines split open and flattened out and gently seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. It is a simple but perfectly prepared dish with the seasoning complementing and not dominating the delicate flavour of the sardines. It is one of the best fish dishes I’ve tasted. The Afetato e Mozzarella di bufola, Parma Prosciutto with mozzarella was great – flavours and textures mixing wonderfully.
The main courses were up to the high standard of the antipasti and made for a great meal overall. I went for the Galleto al matone – roasted free range poussin prepared with garlic, chilli and rosemary and just a hint of lemon. It was cooked so that the skin was crisp and just on the right side of blackened. The meat on the bird was moist and full of flavour. Liz chose the duck with balsamic vinegar and raisins and we both had the zucchine fritte and sautéed potatoes. The duck was cooked just to the right level of pinkness and was tender, melting and seasoned delicately with an unctuous jus. The zucchini was cooked in a light, tempura-like batter and was crispy and not over cooked, so the vegetables were still firm. The whole meal was accompanied by a tasty red wine – Salice Salentino Riserva from Puglia.
We had no room for dessert, which was a shame, but rounded a superb meal off with a delicate but powerful grappa. My only thought now is when we book to eat there again!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
December 10, 2013
Thank you kindly! May your Christmas be full of joy, wonder, and fantastic food! With best wishes from all at Il Portico.
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