Katie and Giancarlo opened Caffé Caldesi back in 2005, with the aim of bringing a little pocket of Italy to the bustling city of London. Today, the authentic flavours can still be found, in everything from the food to the selection of wine.
For an informal affair, the ground-floor bar is the ideal spot to recline with a glass of something refreshing in hand. Wines hail from Italian vineyards, and are handily accompanied by tasting notes on the menu to ensure you choose something to your liking. Alternatively, you can choose from the selection of cocktails, which are organised into pre- and post-dinner categories. Pair your tipple with a bite to eat.
Many of the choices are inspired by Giancarlo’s upbringing in rural Tuscany, where his mother instilled in him a love for using local, seasonal produce. Visit at lunchtime and enjoy two courses for £14.50, and three courses for £17.50. Alternatively, pop by in the evening and pair your meal with an Italian cocktail. The antipasti selection includes the likes of baked aubergine filled with tomato sauce and mozzarella, and deep-fried calamari with shrimps and courgettes. Afterwards select from the range of primi – the oven-baked beef lasagne is deliciously hearty, while the linguine is flavoured with chilli, garlic and cream, and is noted as Giancarlo’s favourite. Complete your meal with something from the secondi options. Breadcrumbed veal chops are paired with roast potatoes and a side salad, while grilled sirloin steak is accompanied by hand-cut spiced chips and green peppercorn sauce.
Brunch is available on Sundays on the ground floor, and is served from 10.30am until 1pm. Options follow the Italian theme and include scrambled eggs atop bruschetta, with chestnut mushrooms and slow-roasted tomatoes, and a platter of cured Italian meats, cheeses and roasted vegetables. For a more elegant meal, head upstairs to the restaurant. Here you’ll find a mouth-watering à la carte menu. The homemade spaghetti with prawns is sure to tempt, as is the ravioli, which is also made on-site and filled with spinach, ricotta and pine nuts. The secondi range showcases numerous meat options, ranging from pan-roasted guinea fowl with jersey royal potatoes and baby leeks, to grilled wild sea bass well matched with roasted artichokes.
Whether you choose to dine on the ground floor or upstairs, Caffé Caldesi promises first-rate fare that’s beautifully presented and a delight to devour. Also if you like the dishes and want to learn how to make them for yourself, you can do so at the venue’s cookery school, La Cucina Caldesi, which is situated behind the restaurant.