Editor's note: in Apri 2015 it was announed that the restaurant would close permanently within a few months, but as of February 2017 it seems to still be operating.
Situated in a room above a pub, Assaggi has a noisy dining room that is remarkably hard to get a reservation for. To start with I had prawn salad, resting on a “lemon risotto” which was really a deep fried rice cake, with strips of deep fried leek on top (14/20). My wife had taglialine with chopped herbs and walnuts (14/20). For main course we both tried John Dory with a “tomato and olive sauce” that was more a smear than a sauce. This was with a wedge of dauphinoise made with olive oil instead of cream (13/20). This was served with soggy zucchini, good crisp baby green beans and a very plain undercooked spinach (vegetables only 11/20). For dessert a lemon tart was light and fluffy, different from a French tart and none the worse for it (15/20). My wife had amaretto pudding with a drizzle of caramel sauce, that was a little heavy, but moist and with good almond flavour (12/20). Bread was mediocre, a sort of popadom style crisp bread (carta musica) made with olive oil and some pleasant white bread that only appeared as a single slice at the start; only the popadom came back when extra bread was requested.
The mineral water was not chilled, though they did supply ice. The coffee, both espresso and cappuccino, was very good (15/20). Service was generally fair, though they did not remember who had ordered what, and getting the bill was a task of Herculean magnitude. The fact that the menu is solely in Italian is a touch of remarkable pretentiousness in my view: what country are we in here? What would we think of an Indian restaurant in London that printed its menu only in Gujarati or Punjabi? The starter and pasta choices are wider and more appealing than the limited main course dishes. The bill was at least much more reasonable than I was expecting.