DonQui likes this unpretentious, family run, neighbourhood restaurant.
Antipasto has been serving up traditional Italian food in Battersea for over 25 years and DonQui has been eating it for nearly a decade. Whenever he finds himself in SW11 he likes to try to manage at least one visit, and that is what he does this evening. Arriving at around 7pm the restaurant is still fairly empty but it fills up fast and by 8pm most tables are full.
The specials on the blackboard look very good and DonQui is tempted. However, he has a favourite staple which he is glad to see still on the menu since he has been looking forward to it for quite some time. Every so often he will order something else but he usually keeps coming back to his favourite — calf’s liver with butter and sage.
It is simply prepared— the liver slightly pink as DonQui likes it, with the lovely rich tastes of butter and sage permeating the dish. The accompanying vegetables are also unfussy but perfectly cooked, still retaining come crunch. The roast potatoes are crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, just as they should be.
DonQui is quite hungry so before getting to the liver he decides to order the mackerel fillet starter from the specials board.
Three lovely fresh tasting grilled filets are served with a balsamic glaze, lemon and small green salad. It is a pretty substantial portion for a starter and DonQui thinks it would have been enough to share between 2 or 3 people. He has frequently shared starters at Antipasto in the past as they do tend to be on the generous size. He once made the mistake of ordering garlic bread as well and by the time his main course arrived he was pretty well full up.
DonQui glances over to a nearby table where a man is being presented with the ‘Italian charcuterie’ starter which is a long wooden board filled with various cold cuts and bread — practically a meal in itself.
However he still has room for a desert and is in the mood for some ice-cream — in this case a tartufo with zabaione centre, gianduia outer and sprinkled with cocoa and chopped hazelnuts. Just the ticket, DonQui thinks as he tucks in.
Rounding off with a proper Italian-strength espresso at the end, DonQui leaves feeling quite satisfied.
His wallet is not lightened too much thanks to Antipasto’s rather odd pricing system. Not so long ago they used to offer 50% off all food three days a week. This made it a real bargain on those days and tended to leave the place relatively empty on the others. Now they offer 40% off food (excepting deserts) every day of the week. This does make DonQui wonder why they don’t just reduce the base prices by 40%. Presumably the prospect of 40% off draws in more people than if the prices were lower. Whatever the logic, the end result is that a meal here is very good value for money indeed.
The understated service is friendly and efficient and the courses come quite quickly. Sometimes if he wants to linger over a meal here DonQui will order one course and wait to order a second once he has finished it. This is something he learned to do in Italy where it seems quite common to order your meal as you go along.