Having recently savoured the delights of the very superior Pulia near Borough Market, an eatery that serves the finest food and wine exclusively from Puglia, I thought it would be rather nice to visit somewhere a bit closer to home and so a trip down the very chic Lonsdale Road brought me to Ostuni, a buzzing, very packed restaurant that boasted the same message.
The press reports have been full of praise for Ostuni (as had several friends) and my companion and I were glad to be seated outside in the spacious terrace of the restaurant, following a heavy night of indulgent Martin Miller gin cocktails.
One of the dishes particularly lauded was the pasta with beef feather blade and meatball (£14) which my pal ordered with the rocket salad (£4.00).
I went straight for the tuna crudo with pink peppercorns (£8.50) followed by a starer portion of the cavatelli with salted ricotta, cherry tomatoes and basil and a mixed salad all to be washed down with a small carafe of rose, Calvisson, Pays du Gard (£13).
My starter arrived very promptly, a terribly pretty plate of raw tuna simply adorned with some shaved celery and a simple dressing. It was a delightful mouthful; soft, fresh, simple food at its very best and absolutely my kind of food.
The wine, on the other hand was a tad disappointing. A little empty although just about passable.
The star of the show arrived in the shape of the pasta with the blade and meatball, shiny tomato sauce clinging lovingly to the orecchietti. The blade was beautifully tender as was the meatball and the sauce simple but very good indeed. That dish just summed up my philosophy on food; the best ingredients, lovingly cooked. Which is why I was so damned disappointed with my cavatelli. It was just dull. I know this is a simple dish which has the addition of raw tomatoes, basil and the salted ricotta which I love and first discovered in Pulia’s restaurant, but I couldn’t really detect the basil and the overall affect was just a kind of nothingness.
For two starters, one main, two side salads and a small carafe of wine I thought that £60 was actually rather expensive. Yes I know it’s Queen’s Park and the rents must be through the roof and the area is awash with money and I guess that’s what comes with the territory, but I just can’t quite get my head around it.
43-45 Lonsdale Road
020 7624 8035