Last week I visited The Spaghetti House for the first time - and was pleasantly surprised! The restaurant's history history goes back to 1955 when two Italians, Lorenzo Fraquelli and Simone Lavarini, opened the original Spaghetti House. It was London's first pasta restaurant and opened on the ground floor of the building in Goodge Street that they still occupy. Between 1955 and 1959, as customers flocked to Goodge Street, the restaurant extended to occupy all four floors of the building and today there are 10 branches across London.
The company is still family-run and although people might generally perceive Spaghetti House to be a generic Italian chain restaurant, they take far more care with the sourcing of excellent ingredients than such chains would. Crab comes from a family business five miles off the Portland coast in Dorset, and takes less than 24 hours from fishing to plate. Native lobster comes from the North Cornish Coast just off Ilfracombe in the Bristol Channel while their salmon is from Loch Duarte. Fat green olives (served on ice!) are Nocellara del Belice, a cultivar from Sicily and one of the few olives that can be used both for eating and for making olive oil. The Prosciutto is all Parma ham certified, and at least 18 months aged. They also slice it by hand as an order comes in, using a gorgeous, shiny retro Italian hand-slicer on display at the front of the restaurant.
I dined in the Westfield London branch and sampled the free- prosecco deal running until the end of November 2016 - a special three-course menu priced at £29 per person, including unlimited Prosecco for an hour and a half, for
parties of up to eight people. After a selection of nibbles to start (including some of that amazing, silky Prosciutto, I had avocado bruschetta, topped with a soft-boiled hen's egg, sun-dried tomato, sunflower seeds and a lemon dressing. Others in the group tried the calamari fritti with garlic mayonnaise. My bruschetta was perfect - the bread was especially good - and although people found the calamari tender and delicious, the mayo was found not to be garlicky enough. For main, Tash sitting next to me tried the restaurant's signature pasta dish, linguine gamberoni e zucchini, (pasta with king prawns, zucchini, white wine, garlic, lemon zest and chilli) - a huge portion with sweet, juicy prawns. But I could not resist the medaglioni alla pizzaiola: pan seared sliced beef fillet with a sauce of tomato, oregano, capers and olives. For dessert I tried a classic Sicilian dessert: torta setteveli or seven veils cake - alternating layers of hazelnut and chocolate cake, cream and mousse.
The free flow prosecco offer must be pre-booked on the website www.spaghettihouse.co.uk
and can be redeemed at the restaurants listed on the offer page. http://spaghettihouse.co.uk/freeflowing/