Il Pirata, my favourite restaurant.
God, I am SO lucky to have this place at the bottom of my street! I've got the Mandarin City (tremendous high end Chinese with duck a speciality), Little Wing pizzeria, the Jasmine (ludicrously good Indian BYO) and the Good Fortune (longstanding BYO Chinese of choice for a tasty midweek treat), so spoiled for choice round these parts, but Il Pirata is the one I keep going back to. So much so, in fact, that I haven't even got round to trying out Green's Pizza or that Mexican place which is supposed to be incredible.
The husband was pretty grumpy heading out, muttering something about only having had 5 hours sleep and claiming to be a bit Il Pirata-ed out - fair enough, I've been dragging him down there once a fortnight since it opened. But while it may be possible for him to overdose on the delectable mushroom arancini and beef ragu, I can take any god's amount of fine rustic Italian cookery. Plus on Sundays they have started doing "sharing roasts" so I lured him down the street on that premise.
They still do the porchetta for two (£16) but no one else on the table was up for a hit of fatty, delicious pork belly so I settled on splitting a chicken roast with truffle butter, baby fennel, carrots and peas with roast potatoes (£18 for two). Great stuff - husband was delighted, Dad was happy, ladies were equally pleased. They do half portions of everything for kids and my wee nephew thinks their beef ragu is better than McDonalds. This is the best you can expect from the average seven year old. When I was that age I was mad for the Skandia's whitebait, Chicken a la King and Rhum Baba and I was cosidered to be utterly precocious for that. Considering my staple diet was Findus Crispy Pancakes and reheated stew it was a fair observation.
We finished off with the famous tiramisu and pannacotta and could have sat quite happily for the rest of the afternoon there - it's a great place to bring people for a leisurely meal. Il Pirata really hits the mark every time - the menu has a balance of old favourites and very special specials, the wine list is great (the house Sicilians are top value at £15 a bottle) and the service is great. I've never had a bad meal here and I've had many great ones.