A different class of Chinese restaurant. It was 28 years ago, during the long, hot summer of 1990 that I first set foot on Bellevue Road, Wandsworth ... Read Feature
So our first attempt at a review got off to a great start as we arrived at Roxie Steak on Garratt Lane. I’d blithely assured the DDC that we wouldn’t need to make a reservation as it was 7:30 on a Tuesday late in the month and that nobody would be out and about. So a minute later we found ourselves back on the pavement having been told a table might not open up until sometime around late 2016, I tried shamefacedly to find somewhere else we could eat. I suggested a favourite of ours Girasole, but then noticed La Pernella conveniently located almost exactly across the street from where we were.
For those of you unfamiliar with La Pernella, it’s one of those places that seems to have been around roughly since the flood. So much part of the scenery that it’s sometimes actually hard to notice it. In the mornings it’s one of the area’s better greasy spoons and I have to admit I was keen to try it out in it’s more adventurous nocturnal guise as a pizzeria.
First impressions were that it still looked pretty much like a greasy spoon. Tables were devoid of any sort of cloth and the cutlery and sauce stands were still out from the morning. The staff though were friendly, genuinely Italian and most reassuringly a huge authentic looking pizza oven stood hulking in plain sight.
We were the only diners to start with and the place was very quiet. Even so it didn’t exactly lack atmosphere with the staff being chatty and helpful. The menu is short, basically starters and pizzas. There are pasta options but you have to ask for them.
Myself and the DDC looked to share a portion of mozzarella garlic bread and calamari. We both went for the pizza option, me with a pancetta e gorgonzola, the DDC for the carciofi e parma. The waitress earnt herself about a bazillion brownie points at this time by recommending that we went for the house red as it was cheaper and better than the other options. I have to say, we didn’t try the other stuff but the red was great and excellent value at £13.50 a bottle.
The food came promptly and was obviously freshly cooked. The calamari was nice, but both me and the DDC agreed seemed like it was from a catering service rather than freshly bought. The garlic bread though was thick and tasty, being pretty much a garlic pizza. It is perhaps a bit too much to have this and another pizza to follow.
The pizza mains were great. Mine had the genuine taste of blue cheese and delicious salty pancetta. My companion agreed that hers was excellent as well. Both the pizzas and the garlic bread were cooked well and made from great dough. Though different I think that they were equal in taste to those that you get from Girasole about three quarters of a mile down the road.
Feeling the call of nature I went to explore the facilities. I can happily report that they were clean, obviously looked after but limited with just one cubicle each. Back at the table talking to the charming waitress she said that the restaurant was generally busier at weekend, and that they were particularly accommodating to children, again a trait of places that are genuinely run by Italians. The waitress it transpired was from Sicily, which was somewhere the DDC had previously lived so they indulged in some happy reminiscences about somewhere I’d never been as I looked on pretending not play with my phone.
The bill came to around £47 which isn’t bad for two courses each and a bottle of wine, but isn’t quite really cheap eats. That being said I was more than happy with it and would definitely go back, and it is cheaper (mainly due to the wine) than Girasole or even Rossopomodoro. Though never getting above 1 or 2 other customers, those that came in were obviously were regulars which spoke loud volumes.
A tip I’d suggest to the owners is to do something like Dominos etc and have either a two for Tuesday or any other sort of promotion on the pizzas, you’ve got a great thing going here and you should be promoting it rather than keeping it to yourself. OK, off of my soapbox now.
Looking for a post prandial drink myself and the DDC looked through the window of Bar 366 to find perhaps the only place in Earlsfield less populated than La Pernella, so by passing that we had a nice end to the evening gate-crashing a friend’s pub quiz team in the Wandle finishing the evening off nicely.
Till the next time