Caffe Caldesi, W1

“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” – Bishop George Berkeley (1685 – 1753). 

 

Great question and one of the most debated philosophical questions known to man.  However, being the food obsessed simpletonscaffecaldesi 150x139 Caffe Caldesi, W1 that we are, Bunty and I managed to reduce this most famous of posers into a 15 minute debate over whether “a sausage is still a sausage if it can’t be seen.”  More of which later, but I guess we shouldn’t expect any calls from MENSA anytime soon!

 

Caffe Caldesi is a traditional Italian restaurant in the heart of Marylebone, offering visitors a wine bar with light Italian meals and snacks and also a fully fledged restaurant.  The whole place was buzzing on the Thursday night of our visit, with a real eclectic mix of post-work suits and casual locals. 

 

The menu is inspired by Italian regional specialities and contains many unique dishes that you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere.  Pan-fried sea scallops wrapped in pancetta with avocado sauce on spinach leaves was a well executed version of a classic combo, but it was my starter of Tagliatelle with njuda sausage, broccoli & (a super-light) cream sauce that was the cause of much debate.  For those that don’t know, njuda is a sausage so hot that you can literally only uses traces of it before you blow your tongue to pieces.  Hence, you couldn’t actually see any in the dish, leading Bunty to question whether it was even there.  It was there alright, but perfectly balanced as to make the flavours just fizz across the palette, leaving just a trace of heat; an absolutely stunning dish.

 

For mains, Grilled seabass with roast fennel & white wine was well executed and delicious, but again my dish came up trumps.  Oven baked lamb cutlets stuffed with pecorino and bresaola was an absolute triumph of deep, meaty flavours and definitely a must try for everyone – my only qualm being that it was too small for the £18.50 asked of it.  Desserts were a far simpler affair, with a rich, creamy Tiramisu and a Bitter chocolate tart.

 

The wine list also deserves a mention, being completely Italian and comprehensive in choice.  My Falanghina had big mellow flavours which perfectly matched my meaty meal, whilst the wonderfully summery Soave was ideal for Bunty’s fish dishes.

 

Food: 4/5

Venue: 3.5/5

Value: 3.5/5

 

Cuisine type: Italian

Meal for 2 (excluding drinks): £70

Wine: £6.50

Good for: Casual dining

 

Caffe Caldesi

118 Marylebone Lane

London, W1U 2QF

T: 020 7935 1144

www.caldesi.com/caffe-caldesi

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