Impressive Italian menu at Drunch Fitzrovia in LondonHALAL STATUS Mostly Halal food (veal not Halal; prepped & cooked separately) • Alcohol served
Having reviewed the hugely impressive Italian and Mediterranean restaurant Il Bebo’s in Wood Green, north London, we now review Drunch.
It seems quite a while ago, made more distant by the now familiar pre- and post-covid demarcation of the world, when we last visited Drunch in Regent’s Park in 2018.
They’ve come a long way since then, having opened two additional branches: one in Mayfair, and the other in Fitzrovia’s Great Titchfield Street.
The latter is different to the previous two in that, although the main dining area is to be found on the ground floor, Drunch has also incorporated what’s known as a ‘speakeasy’ called ‘Kave’.
Now, a ‘speakeasy’, although originally coined to describe places illegally selling alcohol during the 1920’s Prohibition movement in the US, today refers to a secluded venue, usually with an alcohol bar, that’s mainly located underground.
And the Kave is precisely that, situated entirely separately downstairs in the basement, and accessible via a separate door on the side of building.
As for the dining area on the ground floor, then not only is this 20-cover room elegantly designed, with decorative branches of an orange tree hanging overhead representing the brand’s main colour scheme, but also has no alcohol bar in sight.
But there’s another important factor that distinguishes this site from the others, and that’s the cuisine it focuses on, for this is the only one that’s very much Italian-oriented.
With Chef Antonio Syed having created a near fully Halal menu (the Chef is currently working on acquiring Halal veal), 80% of the restaurant’s produce is directly sourced from Italy (only the meat is UK bought).
Otherwise, virtually everything else is inhouse made, we’ve been told.
Whilst the tastiest of the three was the Kiwi Passion, which culminated in an interesting malty aftertaste; the maturest was the Red Passion with its subtly sour undertone.
As for the Pink Dreams, then the sweetness of lychee came through well enough, with perhaps a hint of the zest.
This was recommended by the manager who, being a proud Italian from the north, swore by this being the best Buratta Bio in London.
And so it proved, with this being on another level. Although served slightly on the chilled side rather than at room temperature, this was a smooth and creamy dome of wholesome goodness made better by the spicious edge delivered by the addition of the sun dried tomatoes with basil.RECOMMENDED
A wonderful assortment of battered seafood comprising of prawns, squid, and calamari, which, while all retaining that tender chewiness, were fried to a light crispy finish, before being served with a mildly tangy and creamy tartar sauce.RECOMMENDED
A clean and simple plate of finely diced steak, which had a mellow earthy-cum-piquant taste, with the velvety yoke of the quail’s egg providing that additional richness.
Oh and as for the extra gram or two of the black truffle shavings, then why not? A little touch of luxury never hurt.
Turning out perfectly pink on the inside meant that these chops offered that gorgeous balance between the tender softness and the satisfyingly chewy.
These were further elevated by being served on a bed of silky smooth parsnip purée, finished by a sprinkling of thin parsnip fries.
Not only did the purée add an edge of sweetness to the dish, but said fries assured textural contrast.RECOMMENDED
In this case, we ordered this 8oz thing of beauty rare to medium rare, and that’s precisely how it turned out.
Seasoned with sea salt, this was an extraordinarily delicious piece of umami goodness which, truth be told, trumped some of the wagyu steaks we’ve tried this year; and that’s saying something.
Be sure to enjoy this with a portion of their stupendous Truffle Fries highlighted below.
Taste-wise, this Pear & Goat’s Cheese Ravioli will live long in the memory. We just couldn’t get enough of the way in which the fruity sweetness of the pear globule married with the light piquancy of the goat’s cheese, before being brought to completion by the creamy sauce and the crushed walnuts sprinkled over the top.
If we did have a complaint, then it was only that the ravioli betrayed a reheated quality, with the edges erring on the chewy side.RECOMMENDED
Another fabulous plate, which allowed the clean and simple flavours to do the talking. Slices of a large aubergine, interleaved by layers of textured tomato, were topped with vegetarian Parmigiana, and baked to a finish.
What was served was a good mixture of the gooey aubergine on the inside, lightly crisped on the out, and the Parmigiana ensuring that distinct aromatic undertone.
It was the heady aroma and taste of the truffle shavings which served as the driving force behind these dangerously addictive, crispy Truffle Fries.
If you’re looking to add some greens to your meal, then don’t look past these deliciously plump and juicy grilled asparagus.
The disparity between this pineapple dessert and all the dishes that preceded it was stark. The former simply did not match the level of sophistication and precision that defined the latter.
It was as if this dessert had been thought up and executed by an entirely different chef and kitchen.
A hollowed out pineapple, refilled with a mixture of the slices of its interior and berries with plenty of chantilly cream, just didn’t strike us as the work of the chef who had, until this point, served up such seriously good dishes.
Despite this splodge tasting okay, ultimately it did disappoint.
Admittedly the experience was made better when had with a delicious cup of their Signature Latte – smooth and creamy, with the caramel coming through nicely.
Perfectly reasonable Panna Cotta this, which had a gelatinous layer of passion fruit on top. But, again, given the high standards of the non-dessert menu, we would have expected far more, including having this not served lazily in a glass jar.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
This branch is variently themed in that the Italian chef here has created an Italian inspired menu. More importantly, he's gone above and beyond to make certain that the food menu is not just Halal, but the vast majority of the produce and ingredients is also sourced directly from Italy.
And the results were evident, with this particular experience at Drunch standing head and shoulders above the previous ones. Truth be told, this would have come close to being rated a 5/5 had it not been for those incongruous desserts. Given the skill and planning gone into the savoury side of the menu, it was as though the desserts had either had very little thought put into them, or were created by an entirely different chef.
In any case, given the dearth of restaurants in London offering Halal-friendly Italian cuisine, Drunch Fitrovia is definitely one to visit.
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