Right from the off, the service was attentive and so personal and friendly. We loved our waiter and he helped us with all those difficult food and wine choices. He even wangled it so we could keep our table a little bit longer than we should have done!
The dining room is spacious and I like that they could have squeezed in more tables but they didn't. It's a big contrast to Tipo 00 which has that squeeze your elbows in feel whereas Ilaria is about stretching out.
- Porcini mushroom croquettes
- Spanish mackerel tartare, wild garlic, turnips
Whilst those little croquettes weren't the biggest on the block, they were truly delicious. Small they may be, but they were just so full of mushroomy goodness, the tastebuds were crying out for more more more!
The mackerel tartare was fresh and light with a heavenly garlic scent that wasn't overpowering and there was a slight citrus tang to those delicious cubes of fish. I loved that the cubes were a good size too giving each mouthful a good bite and the flavours of the fish came through. Sometimes ceviche and tartare etc. can be sliced too small or thin and the dressings overpower but this was just so well executed and balanced.
- Baby octopus, n'duja
- Pecorino cheesecake, celeriac, pistachio pesto
Classic flavour combination of spicy salami and chargrilled octopus - definitely works well. The cheesecake was a little more divisive. To me, a bit like a souffle gone wrong and a bit too dense. Interesting to try but not something I would have to order next time unlike everything else we'd eaten thus far.
- Whole whiting, pippies, sea herbs
- Roast corn fed duck, hazelnuts and radicchio
The fish was delicate and tasty and the duck was hearty and robust. Both didn't quite shine as much as the previous dishes but they were still very good.
- Olive oil, chocolate mousse, streusel
- Mandarin, cream cheese, oat crumble
Like the course previous, we had two contrasting dishes. The chocolate was rich, decadent and silky smooth reminiscent of the Tipomisu from next door. The mandarin dish was zingy and fresh and probably my slight preference given I prefer fresh fruit based desserts over chocolate. Our lovely waiter had arranged for some extra white chocolate rocks to adorn our dessert which went down a treat!
This was a wonderful and memorable meal. Ilaria is someone I need to be best friends with and see regularly!