This restaurant, which opened in January 2018, is the younger sister of the well-established Tarantella in Chiswick. It is situated in Acton High Street, and is larger than the Chiswick original. The layout has two rows of seating, with the kitchen at the far end, featuring a wood-fired pizza oven. This is a difference to Chiswick, the oven apparently able to reach 500C when at full blast, able to cook a pizza within a minute. The menu is pretty much a carbon copy of the Chiswick branch, with pizzas given pride of place but also a full range of starters, pasta and main courses in addition.
The short wine list of a dozen bottles ranged in price from £16.25 to £30.95. Unfortunately it just listed the style of wine or grape used e.g. “Sauvignon Blanc £20.95” or “Chianti Classico £30.95”, which is essentially useless in helping a customer choose a wine. It is bad enough to leave off the vintages, but to not bother naming the grower of the wine is absurd, and will put off any even semi-serious wine drinker. I know that not everyone is interested in wine, but to just assume that none of their customers at all will be remotely interested in wine, which this list implies, is silly. I drank beer.
Beef ragu with fileja pasta (a variety from Calabria) had decent pasta, though the ragu itself did not have great depth of flavour. The beef came in large chunks rather than being broken up and part of a rich sauce, but aparently that is the style that is made in the south of Italy (11/20). Pan-fried sliced courgettes with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil was rather bland and under-seasoned, which was particularly an issue since courgettes are in themselves not the most dynamically flavoured vegetables. The flavours in this dish just seemed ill-defined (10/20).
The pizzas were a clear step up from the starters, and the wood oven definitely gave them the edge over the Chiswick branch. The base was quite thin and not as fluffy as you would find in places like l’Oro di Napoli. However the hot oven gave some char to the crust, and in the case of the Quattro Stagione pizza the mushrooms appeared to be fresh rather than tinned. Both this and the Diavola pizza were good (12/20).
Tiramisu is made from scratch in the kitchen rather than bought in, and was very good. The texture was fine and there was a decent kick of coffee flavour (13/20). Coffee was Molinari, a common enough Italian blend. It doesn’t compare well to the very best coffee you can find in London, but was serviceable.
Service was friendly and efficient. The bill came to £29 a head. If you had three courses and coffee shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per person would be around £40. Overall, Tarantella is not a destination restaurant, but if you find yourself in Acton then it is a pleasant restaurant serving quite good pizza.