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
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
Canali 42 Gloucester Avenue London
NW1 Tel: 020 7722 2800
for menus and more details visit their Web: www.sardocanale.com
Louise Elgin. February 2006.