Fiddie's Italian Kitchen, Finchley Road, review
PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 December 2015 | UPDATED: 15:01 14 December 2015
This hospitable new venture from Neo Ioannou is a sure fire way to keep the kids happy, says Alex Bellotti.
It’s a reasonable expectation of modern dining that food should be served fresh, but at Fiddie’s Italian Kitchen it’s an endearing necessity. Squeezed into a cosy alcove on Finchley Road, freezer space is sacrificed for a gargantuan pizza oven; as a result, no ingredient takes long to find its way into a frying pan after being delivered.
Boasting pizza and pasta chefs trained in Milan and Sicily, the only surprise here is that owner Neo Ioannou is of Greek origin. Having opened his first Italian restaurant in Highgate in 1991 (where Rossella now stands), though, he has long believed that Italian is the most inclusive and comforting family food around – after all, nothing keeps a screaming toddler quiet like a steaming bowl of spaghetti.
Upon a midday visit, I managed to pre-empt the lunchtime crowd who quickly filled the tables, with many also dropping by for a takeaway pasta or salad box. I opted for a Tartar di Avacado starter; while a simple enough bruschetta variant of diced, organic avocado and tomato, the ripe, bouncy flesh of the former was notable – no doubt a result of the few air miles it took to be delivered from the grocery store next door.
The mains stay true to Ioannou’s comfort food ethos. The bowls of pasta are deep and glowing, while my Pesca pizza (smoked salmon, prawns, grilled courgettes and cherry tomatoes) was on the generous side of 12 inches. The prawns were a touch skimpy, but the cheese was plentiful and made from 100 per cent cow’s milk, lending it a stretchy, meaty texture. The standout dish, however, was the homemade tiramisu. Mixing light, fluffy cake with thick, chocolate-dusted cream, it was everything an Italian dessert should be.
One advantage of the intimately-sized dining area is that the attentive staff are always on hand, but having recently launched a delivery service, there’s even now an opportunity to grab a slice of little Italy at home too. With such a range, Fiddie’s surely won’t take long to become a favourite of Finchley Road.
Fiddie’s Italian Kitchen
13 New College Parade, Finchley Rd, London NW3 5EP
Phone: 0207 586 5050