Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

My month in food

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Stephanie Brookes, foodie expert and BBC Radio London contributor, offers her pick of an eating establishment for this month: Osteria Romana in Knightsbridge.

On a quiet side street in the heart of Knightsbridge, discover a true slice of rustic Italian cuisine, specifically, the traditional, and often forgotten, dishes of Rome. Osteria Romana’s founder, Andrea Reitano, wanted to recreate bygone dishes of the Eternal City and to unearth many of his grandmother’s treasured culinary techniques and recipes. Such is the dedication to authenticity, much of the produce is sourced directly from markets in Rome.

On a particularly rainy Saturday afternoon, we made our way to Knightsbridge and on arrival the welcome we received felt like a true Italian greeting: warm, gracious and hospitable. It instantly revived our rain-soaked spirits. As we were led to our table, the scent of aromatic basil instantly permeated our area of the restaurant. A charming little addition diners observe is the fresh basil plant centrally placed on the table – fortunately, it is there for an actual purpose. Our waiter promptly snipped a few choice leaves, added them to a small serving bowl, along with a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. We were given a generous basket of freshly-baked bread, which we used to mop the green-flecked oil. The basil is then removed, allowing plenty of room for the feasting to truly begin.
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All photos copyright: Osteria Romana
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I eagerly started proceedings with an order of fried artichokes which arrived in a golden cluster. The batter, light and crisp, encased the mild, softness of the artichoke. As the natural flavour of artichoke is incredibly mellow – it’s not one of the showiest vegetables in terms of flavour – yet, when seasoned with salt and good squeeze of lemon, it makes for a highly moreish starter.

Roman-style gnocchi and black truffle was the dish which was by far the star of the show. This particular gnocchi is made to a traditional Roman recipe with semolina rather than potato flour. The semolina gives the gnocchi a wonderfully light texture which absorbs the creamy, truffle sauce. This specific texture of gnocchi was the perfect counterpoint to the rich, earthy truffle. It’s the kind of starter remembered for days, if not weeks.
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The beauty of an authentic Italian restaurant is that fresh pasta is an unequivocal must. And while I was certainly debating whether or not to try the Roman-style saltimbocca, the simplicity of freshly-made pasta was too tempting to pass up. The dish of cacio e pepe (pasta with cheese and black pepper) is served in the pan, glossy in its rich cheese coating, speckled with a generous seasoning of black pepper. Some may think a pasta dish served in this way is perhaps a little gimmicky, yet it cleverly allows each strand of the egg-rich pasta to fully absorb the sauce from the pan. I also appreciated the fact there wasn’t any heat lost when transferring to a plate. The fresh pasta still had that al dente bite, and the freshly ground black pepper gave the creamy cheese coating a much needed spicy note.
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We at the 1853 shop are excited about the year ahead and we are just putting together a full calendar of complimentary tastings at our shop in Weybridge to focus on the key wineries that our company owns.
Our main forthcoming events are as follows:

Early March – early spring wines, aromatic white wines
Mid March - Houghton, Western Australia. Jack Mann birthday celebration End of March - Easter chocolate and wine
End April – St George’s Day – port and fortified wines

The 1853 Wine Shop
The Coach House, 2 Heath Road, Weybridge KT13 8TB
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I’m something of a creature of habit when it comes to desserts and when I spy tiramisu on a menu, it goes without saying it will be ordered without hesitation. My expectations are always high as this traditional Italian dessert has been a favourite of mine since I was a child. Osteria Romana certainly cannot be faulted for portion size: the dessert that arrived was easily enough for two. The unctuous creaminess, hiding a rich coffee-laden sponge, reaffirmed my love of this dessert.

I can’t say I dine out in Knightsbridge all that often, but I feel I may actually become a regular to this decidedly affluent part of town. Knightsbridge, as we know, is renowned for its high-end boutiques and world-famous department stores, yet, for me, the draw of Osteria Romana and its authentic Roman cuisine is certainly the most sought-after commodity in the area.
essence info
Osteria Romana
3–4 Park Close, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7PQ
Telephone: 020 7584 5819
Websites: and
Instagram: @osteriaromanalondon