Sapori Sardi is a family-run Sardinian restaurant in Fulham that opened in the summer of 2012. The chef, Piero, has been a cook all of his life, previously having been head chef at a hotel restaurant called Torre dei Corsari in western Sardinia. The menu features a number of Sardinian dishes, and the bread is made from scratch in the kitchen; the chef’s father was a baker by training. The narrow dining room has maps and pictures of Sardinia on the walls, and has quite small, tightly packed tables with no tablecloths. The room is a little dark as it is quite narrow, and the lights were lowered even further during the evening. The quite loud music playing reminded me of being trapped in a Norwegian taxi with the radio on: Dusty Springfield, Neil Diamond, Janis Joplin, more Neil Diamond; songs from another era.
The short wine list starts at £16.50 and has a couple of dozen choices, most without vintages listed. Villadoria Gavi di Gavi was £26.50 for a wine that retails at around £11, Villa di Chiesa Banco from Sardinia at £50 for a wine you can find in a shop for around £24. The carta di musica bread (Sardinian in origin) was very good, thin and crisp, the white bread with olives less so as it tasted less than perfectly fresh (13/20 on average).
The meal started well, with a capable risotto (£11.95) with goat cheese and asparagus, the texture quite creamy, with slivers of fried garlic added (14/20). A dish of Sardinian gnocchi (£9.95) had with it a sausage ragu, tomato sauce, saffron, rocket and a shaving of pecorino. Although the menu said gnocchi the pasta was really a durum wheat semolina pasta (malloredus) from Sardinia. Its texture was fine and the sauce nice enough, though the latter could have had much richer flavour, and there was not much sausage in evidence (13/20).
Things came off the rails with the next course though. A Sardinian fish stew (£18.50) had swordfish, sea bass, prawn and mussels on top of a tomato-based sauce, with some slices of toasted bread, with a green salad to the side. The sauce was pleasant enough, and the mussels were acceptable, but the fish was wildly overcooked, the swordfish almost rubbery in texture (9/20). King prawns (£17.95) in lemon garlic and white wine sauce were slightly overcooked, served with a few new potatoes, broccoli and green beans. These were cooked well enough, but this was a pretty unexciting dish, and needed more seasoning (10/20).
Dessert was a mixed bag. Tiramisu was bizarre in that the sponge seemed entirely lacking in coffee flavour, which is really a key point of the dish (8/20). By contrast, zabaglione (£5.95) was very pleasant indeed, the marsala and sugar in good balance, warm and enjoyable comfort food (14/20). Coffee was decent, the cappuccino appearing for some reason in a vast oversized cup, whereas espresso was a normal size.
The waiters were friendly enough, though they appeared a bit stretched as the restaurant filled up. The bill came to £55 a head with beer to drink. This is not excessive in itself, but the staff showed no concern at the half eaten fish stew or the barely touched tiramisu, which rankled. Given that we did not have wine, this is not exactly a bargain for such an erratic meal.