Chef Aldo Zilli is a man on a mission, a mission that combines two of his great loves: family and good food. As a father of two young children, Rocco, five, and Twiggy, two, Zilli believes it is time that we Brits adopted some of the Italian attitude that welcomes children into restaurants. To show his commitment to the cause, he’s inviting under-fives to dine for free, while babies and toddlers are treated to his range of organic Baby Zilli. Still, you have to be brave to venture out on a Saturday and put the theory to test, but after a trip to the London Aquarium and a whizz around the London Eye, the children were ready for a hearty meal, and Mummy was ready for a glass of Chianti.
The ambiance at Zilli Fish is convivial and relaxed. When we visited, Aldo was there, doing the round of the tables and chatting to diners, posing for photographs. Taking the lead from the celebrity chef, the staff too score well in the charm stakes. But, of course, it’s the food that’s important, and the food is very good.
While 15-year-old Grace and I kicked off with starters of Bruschetta Of Tiger Prawns Arrabbiata & Fresh Peas (£7.90) and a zingy Fresh Cornish Crab, Mango & Avocado Salad (£9.90), Joe tucked into his Italian Meatballs & Mash (£4.95). The children’s menu also features dishes inspired by Aldo’s children, such as Rocco’s favourite Potato Gnocchi With Pesto (£4.95) and Twiggy’s Penne Pomodoro (£3.95). For our mains, the Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli (£9.90) seemed a better choice than the BBQ Sundried Tomato, Rosemary & Garlic Marinated Lamb Steak with Greek Salad (£13.90), which was a bit on the chewy side. We all, however, loved the Courgette Chips (£4) – moreish tempura-style sticks of courgette; and a rather more decadent way of getting one of your five-a-day.
With Joe starting to falling asleep, sadly there was no time to try the home-made Italian ice cream. Next time, we will endeavour to rectify that one. Let’s hope the gelato is good.
Zilli Fish, 36–40 Brewer Street, London W1F 9TB, tel: 020 7734 8649
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