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14 Red Lion Street
Eccentric, but in a good way, this characterful trattoria has won the hearts and minds of Richmond locals. Wine and oil bottles, and displays of fruit and cheese, are crammed into the already cluttered room. Tables are so close together that diners often start conversations with their neighbours. Customers must leave the ordering to chef-proprietor Riccardo. He serves four or five antipasti, whatever ravioli he has prepared, and a main course (slow-cooked chicken stew or suchlike). He also chooses the wine his guests will drink and seems inconsolable if they refuse his pièce de resistance, the tiramisu. Since the kitchen only has to concentrate on one menu, each component is usually well-prepared, but diners need to be hungry and easy-going to enjoy a meal. Explain any dietary requirements when booking.
Best restaurants in Richmond
14 Red Lion Street
Richmond Station 828m
Richmond Tube Station 828m
Odeon Cinema Richmond 119m
Tues-Sun 12.30-9.30pm (Tues-Thurs 6.30pm- )
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Al Boccondi' Vino is like Upminster: it is several stops past Barking. It is a totally outrageous, one off.
Ostensibly, ABV is an Italian restaurant. The chef and front of house are almost comical parodies of how we view Italian men (tousle-haired, stubble, talking loudly with his hands, chatting to a single lady sitting at the bar) and women (large, matronly, fussing around, talking even more loudly than the chef). And the food is very much Italian too, but it is more that this is a floor show as much as a restaurant, where you are participants in a nightly theatre.
The restaurant is hugely popular, but, when we arrived, nobody seemed to care about the name of our reservation. We were almost immediately given the first of only three choices all evening: which table would we like? Having sat down, the second choice was offered: would we like red or white wine? Now I am sure that you can get more than one sort of wine, as another table seemed to have a different one, but I don’t know how you get to make that choice, as it was not given as an option.
And then the food just started coming: never mind that the other two of our party were not there, the first of the many, many dishes was set before us. We had been warned not to have lunch, and we were very hungry when we arrived. Really good advice that: don’t eat lunch. In fact, don’t eat breakfast either. And wear elasticated trousers.
After the initial arrival of sliced salami, there then came thick and fast about twenty more dishes, and lots more wine. So forgive me if I miss anything out, but there was bean soup with a parmesan crisp, a salad with prawns, grilled aubergine, fried artichoke, grilled king prawns, a beautiful scallop on the half-shell, carpaccio, pasta with pesto and then the big flourish of the floor show: the lamb.
Although the last people to sit down had probably arrived an hour or so after us, so skilled is the service that the pace of our meal had been slowed down and the pace of the late-comers accelerated so that, by the time the meat did the circuit of the room in its cooking tray, so that everyone could admire and clap, we were all at the same stage of the meal. The chef had disappeared by this stage, the single lady at the bar discretely slipping out a few moments later, leaving the shouting at kitchen staff to the front of house.
After this, the meal moved at a slower pace, with deserts and coffee, before the bill and the third and final choice: unlike almost every other restaurant anywhere in the western world, a “discretionary” service charge is not included in the bill.
Well fed, well watered and thoroughly well entertained, we waddled off to grab a cab back to the centre of town. Forget the trendy openings of ex-van-under-Hungerford-Bridge restaurants. Forget queuing for hours under a car park for a burger. No, make a booking, grab a train and head off to Richmond. There is no better entertainment to be had in town.
Food + drink: 5
I can guarantee that this is the most original place that you will eat in London (or just outside actually).
Get your head around the fact that there's no menu to choose from and there's no (visible) price list and just book. You won't regret it.
It's small, noisy, atmospheric – and that was on a Tuesday night – you're sitting in close proximity to your fellow diners and the food just keeps coming…and coming…and coming.
My wife took me here last night for our wedding anniversary meal, she'd been before and always raved about it, and I could see why – great freshly-cooked Italian fare served by bustling attentive waiters. The charismatic owner Riccardo pulls the strings in the semi-open kitchen whilst those little plates keep coming your way.
A few pieces of advice for when you do decide to eat here: book beforehand, do not under any circumstances eat anything for at least 5 hours before you arrive, do not expect to leave early (we racked up nearly 4 hours), if you can't manage the final meat course ask for a doggy bag and they make you one that looks like a fancy foil handbag.
The price is a good deal considering the amount and quality of food that you get – was £40 per head + £25 for a bottle of wine. Tap water is served as standard. Everyone should experience this place at least once.
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