Tucked away down a leafy side street near the King’s Road, Theo’s Simple Italian is an understated oasis (if there is such a thing) of cool simplicity, in Chelsea’s unforgivingly barren desert of old money and pretension.
Rather than a stand-alone restaurant, it’s adjacent to the beautiful, boutiquey little Hotel Indigo. Far from the new money clientele West London has become despised for, this unassumingly cool establishment seemed to be frequented by cool jet-setters. A Dazed & Confused covergirl here, a Buddhist author there. It’s the sort of place Eddie and Patsy would have sought but not found.
We showed up on a chilled, slightly hungover Saturday for their brunch menu, which is an unexpectedly thrifty £35. Possibly the cheapest brunch in Chelsea. It includes an antipasti platter, a starter, main, dessert and a glass of prosecco (although we plumped for a bottle, obviously).
Our waiter Ferran was the perfect combination of flirty and informative. Which was helped along by the fact that he was also the perfect combination of hot and Spanish. There’s possibly nothing better than having someone attractive and informative pour prosecco for you, whilst talking about the wildlife of the Pyrenees mountains. Just saying.
The first thing to arrive was the antipasti, which makes sense, because antipasti means “before pasta”. Perhaps you already knew that. Perhaps not. It entailed a gorgeous variety of charcuterie as well as rocket, roasted tomatoes and THE best mozzarella we’d ever tasted. It’s world away from that rubbery Sainsbury’s stuff. No, this stuff was CREAMY, melt-in-the-mouth dairy heaven.
Then it was on to the starters, or “primi”. A gorgeous al dente ravioli which, much like the general vibe of the restaurant, was a premier example of rustic simplicity. It just goes to show, you don’t need Heston Blumenthal shoving dry ice up a lionfish’s arse. All you need is some terracotta tiles and a bottle of olive oil.
Next it was the main, and we went for the beef Bavette with berlotti beans. Unusually for a meaty main, it was gorgeously light. That’s something actually, ALL the portions were perfectly proportioned, and despite the fact it was essentially a five course meal, we were left satisfyingly full, but not Vanessa Feltz bloated.
We finished up with a saliva-drippingly orgasmic dessert platter, including tiramisu, chocolate cake and – oh yes – possibly THE best dessert we’ve ever eaten, an insanely indulgent ricotta cheesecake. It’s the sort of thing Monica Belucci would luxuriate over by the fire at her villa on Lake Garda. We’re not sure if she has a villa on Lake Garda, that’s conjecture. She probably does.
Theo’s Simple Italian is at 34 – 33 Barkston Gardens, SW5 0EW. Open Monday – Friday from 6:30am to 10:30pm, and Saturday – Sunday from 7am to 10:30pm.