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Review
| Kerene Barefield

Como Garden, A Slice of Italy in Leafy Kensington

From the team behind Zuaya, Como Garden was launched by twin brothers Alberto and Arian Zandi, inspired by the picturesque scenery of Italy’s Lake Como and the surrounding area. As soon as you step into the restaurant your eyes are drawn to the foliage displays and hanging plants, intended to mirror the botanical gardens of the Lombardy region. We were seated underneath a large olive tree which gave the impression that we were seated in an Italian garden.

While we browsed through the food menu we ordered a couple of cocktails. For those who read my reviews a lot, you’ll know that I find it rather hard to say no to a good cocktail. We both ordered the Lecca Lecca, which is the Como signature made with Vodka, Amaretto, Lemon juice and sugar. It was just the right combination of sweet and sour and with a hint of Amaretto coming through. Actually it went down so well that we ordered a second. As we settled into the afternoon and the very comfortable seating, you realise just what a perfect getaway this was from the bustling high street.

As for the food, dishes celebrate various Italian regions, rather than just Lombardy, with the a la carte menu filled with small plates intending to be shared. Fresh pasta is a particular focus here, with highlights including long ribbons of pappardelle tossed with a creamy wild mushroom sauce harbouring a huge depth of flavour. For the first course we opted for the oven baked beef stuffed red pepper, which were extremely meaty and even though I knew I shouldn’t eat too much for the first course, I couldn’t stop. (Something I regretted once I hit course three). We also ordered the Sicilian orange salad, which was fresh and complemented the peppers well.

The staff at the restaurant are extremely friendly and welcoming, helping us decide on the right courses and somewhat more importantly the right wine! For the pasta course we ordered the Como Garden Lobster and tomato black linguine. The lobster has been taken from its shell and dressed, and was probably one of my favourite dishes of the day. It was fresh and the pasta was beautifully cooked – I had to remind myself I wasn’t actually in Italy. During this course we also had the truffle and funghi semolina risotto, which was one of those dishes I couldn’t stop going back for more. Dishes are generous and have substance, so as you can imagine by this point, I’m starting to feel a little full!

We were drinking the Chianti Classico, Querciavalle, Tuscany, Italy 2015 which was just how I like my reds and went perfectly with the final course of breaded veal rib chop. What I hadn’t noticed when ordering was that it was 600g of veal! It really was tasty and well cooked, but I would warn anyone ordering this to make sure they have a big appetite. The sheer size of it scared me slightly. We also had the grilled octopus with gremolata and roasted potatoes which was a beautifully presented dish and I really wished I could have taken it home to enjoy the next day.

Even though the dessert menu looked divine I wasn’t able to eat one and the staff were kind enough to pour us a limoncello before we left our little Italian garden and headed back out into the bustling London streets.

I really enjoyed the vibe of this restaurant, the staff were friendly and fun and the food spoke for itself.

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