I Giardini di Sorrento bills itself as ‘Coffee House-Bar-Kitchen’, though that doesn’t really do it justice. It’s certainly not formal dining, and as such it fits in well on City Road, but this isn’t a café knocking out a few token sandwiches as an afterthought.
Today’s specials of lobster and T-bone are a giveaway, though this is a menu heavily reliant on pizza and pasta.
Ichnusa, a Sardinian lager from an exclusively Italian list, is the least familiar so we go for that while we wait.
We start with a bowl of plump mussels in a garlicky liquor heavy with tomato and parsley. The seafood is zippily fresh and the broth the kind of thing you’d drain at a draught if you were home.
From a selection of six pizzas, the Forte with spicy sausage leaps out. The Neapolitan style base is a lovely thing with the right balance of yield and chew, and the mozzarella is generously scattered with fiery ‘nduja for an impressive main course.
Little nuggets of fried homemade fennel-scented sausage and wilted broccoli dot the portion of paccheri- squat little pasta tubes- for a hearty plateful.
In its three months I Giardini has amassed a sizeable following, but despite being busy when we visited (mainly with Italians) service is unfussy and friendly. It certainly brings something different to City Road’s foodscape and is recommended.
I won’t try to sell you any hand lotion, exercise programmes, coffee syrups or Patagonian nose flutes. You won’t find tips on dating, ‘wellness’ or yoga mats.
I write because I love it (and food, as indicated by my increasing girth). Greed happens to be my Deadly Sin of choice, but at least it is never shy of providing me with subject matter.
A simple thing, then: all you get is me wittering on semi-coherently about places I’ve eaten at; hence a ‘restaurant blog’ rather than a ‘food blog’, although there are a few recipes scattered throughout.
From mezze to Michelin ‘fine dining’ and all points in between.