GrittZ Mediterranean Restaurant
135 High Street, Barnet, EN5 5UZ
The modern décor of GrittZ generates an engaging atmosphere for sampling the honest Mediterranean menu. The open floor plan works perfectly, creating a lively and bustling environment without making it difficult to converse with your dining companions. Having opened only recently in Temple Fortune, Grittz is already building a loyal following like its sister location in High Barnet. Both branches of GrittZ offer the same menu, style of décor and high standard of service. And they're both open seven days a week and offer imaginative lunchtime specials, providing ample opportunity to fit them into your diary. The wine selection, carefully chosen to provide a range that complements the culinary selections, is changed on a regular basis. The house red is more than palatable, and sensibly priced at £10.95 a bottle. Additionally, there are a good number of beers, spirits and soft drinks on offer; and if Italian coffee is your thing, a strong espresso may be the perfect conclusion to your meal. The menu offers a choice of pastas, and pizzas baked in the traditional wood-fired oven. There are time-honoured classics - like spaghetti bolognese, penne arrabiata and linguine pescatore - as well as exotic dishes like cannelloni made from wood-fired pancakes stuffed with porcini mushrooms. Like the pastas, it is clear that the pizzas are made from the freshest of ingredients, including free-range eggs and field mushrooms. The chef's specials change regularly, and alongside the regularly featured meat and fish main courses complete a well-rounded selection. The food is beautifully presented and portions are generous - even amongst the starters. The formaggio di copra (puff pastry tart with goat's cheese, red onions and cherry tomatoes) is drizzled with rich balsamic vinegar, and the anitpasta misto is a colourful combination of Parma ham, mozzarella, tomatoes, and a medley of char-grilled vegetables that includes peppers and aubergine. The funghi al forno (wood-roasted mushroom and gorgonzola) is another tempting option. My rack of lamb, cooked to perfection, was complemented by a redcurrant and rosemary jus, with seasonal vegetables steamed to order. Even the desserts are just that little bit more enticing than you might normally find: choosing between wood-fired waffle with fresh banana, maple syrup and vanilla pod ice cream, and the raspberry tiramisu and lime panna cotta, will prove a dilemma. Booking is advisable at the weekend if you don't want to miss out on this commendable dining experience.