I had plan to have completed this review in December but due to the busy Christmas festive season I did not have the chance. Now picking it up we have stepped in to 2011. You cannot say that time does not fly fast. So lets start this review of Kitchen Italia restaurant. There are two branches in London, one in Westfield shopping centre which was the branch where I first came to know the name Kitchen Italia. But my first visit to any of their branches is the Covent Garden branch.
The restaurant is located in the heart of Covent Garden which is right opposite Belgo Centraal. But I have to say that you would not really know that there was a restaurant located there if you were just passing-by, since the restaurant is located on the basement which you are led by some stairs to reach there. This could be one reason why the restaurnat was almost empty when we arrived to the bottom of the stairs. I think some of us would have turned back up the stairs and would have gone elsewhere. But not me on this evening, I want to try this place and maybe it will answer why this place was empty.
Kitchen Italia feel very open space, which has that Wagamama canteen feel to the place. In the middle are 3 rows of long bench tables and on either side are couch tables which are more private to dine at. Each tables are placed with fresh basil plant, ranges of oil and dressing, that gave it a feel of the countryside.
The whole menu – drinks, mains and desserts are all captured on one side that is used as a table mat. It is fairly simple to navigate so should make it simple to choose what to order.
I found the drinks quite interesting since you have the choice to order drinks mix and they have ones that are non-alcoholic. Yeah! Usually cocktails always alcoholic and not many places do non-alcoholic cocktails. At Kitchen Italia you can go for one of the non-alcoholic drinks mix priced at £2.95 each, that are found under the juices and soft drinks section – Lemon & Limeade, Citrus Ice Tea, Mango Rush and Virgin Very Berry Mojito.
I went for a citrus ice tea which was a refreshing drink mix that had lemon, lime and orange juice with iced Earl Grey.
It was odd that there was no starters on the menu but there was side dishes, in which we ordered some chargrilled pizzas. There were 3 different ones to choose and we went for all of them to share between the group. Each one was a very crispy pizza base which felt like eating poppodum more than a pizza.
Porcini mushroom & rosemary (£6.95) – I found that this was my least favourite since it was too dry for me. Unlike the other two which had a spread of tomato sauce on the pizza base this one was just sprinkled with cheese, mushrooms and rosemary.
Tomato & buffalo mozzarella (£5.95)
Fontina Cheese & Roasted Ham (£5.95) – this has to be my favourite chargrilled pizza out of the three.
We each went for a pasta dish each for our main. I ordered the tiger prawns, chilli and garlic (£9.95), which majority of the group also did. Maybe because many of us went for this dish that the size of the dish for each one was vary. We had some portion that was smaller than the other, or some had more sauce to the other. We actually felt the portion of the pasta was smaller than expected to many Italian chains that we dined at.
We finished off our menu by ordered a dessert to share. We were quite interested in the Hot crispy chocolate ravioli with ice-cream (£4.95). This was like an Italian version of the Chinese crispy wonton, but as a dessert instead of being a starters. I found that the deep-fried ravioli was fairly hard and not a texture that I am fond off, but interesting to try.
Our interesting finish to our meal was that we saw under the hot drink a cute name Babyccino that was priced at 45 pence. This is a very small cup of froth milk which a lovely idea to finish off a meal or to accompany a dessert without the powering taste of a coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Overall, Kitchen Italia at Covent Garden was OK but maybe needing some improvements such as getting the portion size right. But there are a few interesting bits about Kitchen Italia that does have my appeal since they offer food that are unique which I have not yet come to find elsewhere in London.
(Prices correct at the time of dining)
Kitchen Italia (Covent Garden)
41 Earlham Street