If you’re ever in need of spaghetti with lobster, this is the place to go in London! Olivomare based in Lower Belgravia, not far from Victoria. My sister and brother-in-law are also fans and when they decided to visit London, they asked me to book a table before their arrival for lunch on the day they flew in.
Olivomare is a Seafood Sardinian based restaurant with a wonderful interior designed by Sardinian architect Pierluigi Piu. The staff is friendly with a mix of Italian temperament and so far from my experience, I would really go for a meal there during the week and at lunch time, perhaps it is the expectation of the business lunchers that keep their standards high at this time? No matter, as a bunch of us wait outside in the cold for our table to be ready (we had one authentic Italian who was dying for some Italian food as he had been “Italian-dry” for over a month).
Choosing from the menu is always difficult, there are too many dishes that sound absolutely wonderful to the point that you could almost taste them as you read it off the menu. On this occasion it seemed that everyone wanted a form of comfort food and went for their usual. Between our group we sampled the starters of Carciofi Fritti con Mustia (Deep fried artichokes with escarole salad & smoked ricotta cheese), Insalata de Polpo (Octopus Salad served on a bed of rocket), Seppia alla Griglia (Chargrilled Cuttlefish with Black Ink Dressing), Ostriche (Fresh Oysters), and Cozze o Arselle en Tegame (Steamed Mussels or Clams with Garlic & Parsley). The mains were divided between two favourites: Linguine al Granchio (Linguine with Fresh sautéed Crab Meat, Garlic, Chilli and Parsley), and Spaghetti All’Astice (Spaghetti with half a fresh lobster, tomato, chilli and garlic.
I think though, even if we all trust our own judgement about whether the food is good or not, it helps when an Italian is also present to confirm this – perhaps our opinion of Italians is that most of them like their food tremendously and if they give their nod of approval, especially in the case of Italian authenticity, then it makes all the difference! Our resident Italian on this visit was thoroughly pleased with his Alici con Zucchini (Marinated fresh anchovy salad with char-grilled courgettes and rocket… “Just like back home!” I was very happy with my spaghetti with lobster, though perhaps I could possibly say that the lobster wasn’t as fresh as it could have been, as on earlier occasions. All the same, comfort food digested…. check!
With the meal we stayed Italian with the wine, but not from Sardinia. Instead over to my favourite wine region, Piemonte and a nice bottle of Barbaresco from Produttore de Barbaresco. I don’t normally drink wine at lunch but I couldn’t resist (I blame the bad influence of my brother-in-law)!
And of course, no one could go without ordering dessert: we appeased ourselves by “sharing”, your typical choice of tiramisu and their home-made Sardinian nougat ice cream. I only remembered to start taking photos of some of the courses when the mains arrived… what a pity! And on this trip I brought along my Olympus OM-D. On the bright side of things, I will have to go back again to capture the images of the starters!
To round-up the meal, we refrained from a shot of grappa but settled with an espresso – so glad they serve this as in Italy, after the dessert, on its own. Rolling out of the restaurant at a respectable 4pm, we ambled along discussing the next venue for dinner later… Nobu!
I also add a couple more interior images of Olivomare, the lighting, cleverly chosen and reminds us of fishing nets, plus one of the feature walls, with a more obvious sea connotation.