Italian celebrity chef has brought his restaurant chain to London for the first time opening a venue near Regent’s Park. With over a dozen restaurants in Italy, we can expect this venue to be the first of many to appear in the city and possibly nationwide. If the name sounds familiar to you, it may be because you’ve heard of his range of supermarket pasta, and Rana’s background is as a producer before moving into the restaurant business and eventually becoming a TV chef – this appreciation for the whole process certainly shines through in his restaurant.
The atmosphere here is casual and relaxed, ideal for a lunch with colleagues or a chilled out meal with friends in the evening. The decor is shiny and modern with the restaurant housed in a brand new building beneath the skyscrapers just north of the Euston Road. We visited on a quiet Monday night but although the restaurant was far from full the atmosphere was still pleasant and the staff were very attentive and polite.
To kick our meal off, we ordered the Tavola board for two, consisting of cured meats, cheese and bread. We sampled peppery salami Milano, smoky Speck ham and Parma ham that melted on the tongue. The cheese selection contained two types of pecorino – a hard crumbly sheep’s milk cheese and a softer cow’s milk cheese, all served with artisan bread, olives and chutney.
Don’t expect to find pizza on the menu here, Rana prides himself on his pasta, meat dishes and seafood. We tried the swordfish steak served atop a large portion of potato and artichoke salad, which looked as good as it tasted. The presentation was faultless and the fish was beautifully grilled, soft and moist throughout. We also sampled the pappardelle with duck ragu, long ribbons of pasta with shredded duck in a very simple sauce. Too many restaurants serve pasta dishes swimming in sauce but Rana serves his with a more authentic minimalist sauce, allowing the meat to shine through.
Many restaurants of this quality could charge far more than Rana does, making this restaurant exceptionally good value. The average price of a pasta dish is around £9 with the average meat or fish dish costing around £15. The combination of good food, good service and good value means that Rana is set to be a success, we know that we’ll certainly be back.
17-19 Triton Street, Regent’s Place NW1