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Sardo Canale, London NW1

Louise Elgin strolls along the canal to work up an appetite!

 Ambling along the tranquil stretch of The Regent's Canal between Maida Vale and Camden Lock has to be one of life’s simple pleasures. Sardo Canali is literally a stone’s throw away from where the towpath forks left for Primrose Hill, making it an ideal place to stop for a breather and their Sunday lunch, which is fabulous value at £23.00 for three courses.

The restaurant is spread over several dining rooms, all quite distinct and varying in degrees of Italian modernism, with bare brick, wood and glass. The tables for two could be a little bigger but that is my only grumble! One of the rooms is preserved forever in time, once a former tunnel used by horses to pull barges along the canal; it is now a dining room with a cosy and intimate setting. The restaurant is set around a courtyard, complete with a thriving 300-year-old Sardinian olive tree, and where dining takes place al fresco over the summer months.

To begin we shared a starter designed for two, (Talleri di carne) from the three choices on offer. This was a visually stunning selection of meats and cheeses, all very tasty, including a Sardinian salami, a goose salami, and two types of Pecorino cheese. One being hard with lingering flavours, one soft and creamy, all served very artistically on a rustic board accompanied by various speciality breads. A plate of olives and a bowl of olive oil were also on offer adding to the very relaxed start to our meal.

To follow, my guest had the roast veal with roast potatoes and broccoli, remarking it was simply presented and well cooked, the emphasis being on high quality ingredients rather than flavouring of sauces or fussy preparation. My crespolini with ricotta and spinach was rich and sumptuous and one of the best I’ve ever eaten. It was soft, almost omelette like in texture with beautifully rich ricotta and a lush béchamel sauce. To drink, we tried a bottle of Sardinian wine, Cannonau Doc Piero Mancini £19.00, this was tawny port in colour with tannic overtones and balanced well with the meat flavours.

To finish, I had a very moist and light apple sponge cake, which was a very good end to my meal, cutting through the richness of my main course. My guest had a panna cotta with fresh berry sauce, scoring it 9/10, saying it had perfect ‘wobbability’, and how he could have happily polished off several more which is a complement in itself!

This is a family run concern, and Sardinian pride and passion run through its veins, the owner and his daughter are very much in evidence on site, obviously really caring about the place, its staff and its customers, making such a refreshing change from the indifferent attitude that’s often all too evident in London dining rooms.

Set Sunday lunch with wine is about £70 for two.

Sardo Canali 42 Gloucester Avenue London NW1 Tel: 020 7722 2800
for menus and more details visit their Web:

Louise Elgin. February 2006.

UK Restaurant Reviews – The Best Of The Dine Online Restaurant Reviews 2001 - 2010

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