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Tarantella

4 Elliott Road, London, England, W4 1PE, United Kingdom

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Tarantella opened in spring 2007 and is a simple local Italian restaurant serving pizzas as well as a variety of conventional Italian food. What sets it apart from any number of places like it is the care evident in the cooking.  Pizza dough is freshly rolled out and made to order, the crust thin and light, the toppings fresh. In early 2014 they changed the pizza dough recipe so that it is softer, in the style found in pizzerias in Naples, and this was certainly an improvement, the pizza now pushing 13/20 level.   

A basic bruschetta to start was made from pizza dough, toasted in the oven and covered with diced tomatoes and fresh basil. More elaborate dishes going to nearby tables were well presented. On a previous visit I tried unusually good garlic bread and a simple dish of sizzling prawns with garlic and chilli had a pair of good prawns cooked in their shell, tender and with a lively dressing (12/20). At a recent meal I enjoyed very good rigatoni with spicy sausage (13/20). Another good pasta dish is spaghetti with spicy Calabrian sausage, tomatoes, basil and buratta (13/20). A main course of sea bream with roast potatoes and peas was a simple dish but everything was properly cooked (12/20).

The premises are fairly tiny, with a few closely packed tables downstairs and some additional ones upstairs, with no tablecloths, bright lighting and minimal decor. The pizzas are prepared in full view of the dining room, which is fun to watch. The pizza chef is from Naples, and the venture is co-owned by three chefs from Italy; waitresses appear to be family members pressed into service. The overall effect is charming, with a very genuine welcome.

A chocolate fondant was capably made, with a rich liquid centre, but was let down by some poor bought-in ice cream.  With such a tiny kitchen I can understand they may struggle to make their own ice cream, but they do need to find a better supplier. Tiramisu, though, was very pleasant with good coffee flavour. This is nothing more than simple cooking, but in these days of cynical chains this comes across as genuine. More to the point, they can actually make a proper pizza.

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  • james d

    Andy, followed up your recommendation and had a Friday night meal here last month. Sat outside and a party who wanted to sit next to us and smoke were dispatched by a fellow diner who couldn't stand the fumes. Thank God, as the smokers had one too many VKDs already... However we were invited to pay a tip on top of the service charge, which I thought had gone out of fashion. When I queried this, waitress said that the owner kept the service charge. Next time will decline to pay service and leave a cash tip. Food fine.