My Hampstead: Restaurateur’s love affair with Hampstead began on Valentine’s Day 1984

PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 February 2015

Rinaldo Mollura. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Rinaldo Mollura. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

© Nigel Sutton email

Italian restaurateur Rinaldo Mollura opened his first Hampstead eatery 31 years ago after previously working in South Hampstead. Last year, the owner of popular restaurant Villa Bianca opened up fish and chip restaurant Fish Café on his 59th birthday.

What brought you to Hampstead?

After working in Fairfax Road for several years and admiring the Hampstead area and especially the Villa Bianca restaurant from afar, in 1984 an opportunity to buy a restaurant in Hampstead came up and I was lucky enough to be able to take it. So on February 14 1984, I took over La Cage Immaginaire in Flask Walk, and this was the start of my Hampstead love affair.

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to?

I’d have an early walk up to Hampstead Heath, then visit Fred at the gym on Heath Street and have a good workout. Walk down to the Fish Café for lunch and take an afternoon siesta in my Hampstead flat (missing the school rush). Then freshen up and get suited and booted for a fantastic dinner at Villa Bianca.

What makes Hampstead a special place to live?

There is not one specific aspect of Hampstead, but a variety of interesting and quirky things which I believe make Hampstead such an interesting place to live.

Is there anything about Hampstead which you would like to see changed or improved?

I believe that the traffic flow and parking could be improved, especially during rush hours.

A film is set to be made about your life. Which actor would you choose to play you?

Robert De Niro or Jean Reno

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

I would have to say my mum Luciana Mollura. She is 84 and is in great condition and more importantly is still able to keep the whole family, including the newest generation (my grandchildren) together, dedicating herself totally to it.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?

I wouldn’t....Let the others make the effort, I can finally relax.

Rinaldo Mollura was in conversation with Tim Lamden

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

I live in the north west of London in the United Kingdom. Like the rest of the country, I have been looking on in bewilderment at the Brexit deal while politicians on both sides of the house vie for political supremacy. Divisions in government make for good news headlines but do nothing for the public’s confidence in its institutions.

Fri, 16:24

Normally we celebrate one business of the week – but today we’ve got three!

Fri, 15:17

A Routemaster bus will take 72 passengers on a journey through Greek Cypriot history, via Camden and Holloway, on Sunday.

Fri, 12:12

The latest twist in the saga of a Hampstead landlord who refuses to pay a controversial levy saw him bring a top barrister to his court hearing.

Fri, 09:48

Opponents of the 100 Avenue Road development suffered a major blow last night as Camden voted through a controversial plan that will funnel seven lorries a day through residential streets in Swiss Cottage.

Thu, 17:35

The families left homeless by the fire that destroyed the upper floors of Willow House in East Finchley last week said Barnet Council treated them “like ants to be squashed” in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Thu, 12:44

The Temple Fortune community was celebrating on Tuesday after Barnet’s Finchley and Golders Green planning committee unanimously rejected plans to build housing on the old Templars Tennis Club.

Thu, 12:10

Tens of thousands of pounds, weapons and drugs were seized after searching a garage in the Peckwater Estate on Tuesday morning.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now