Tuesday, 26 January 2010


3 Russell Gardens
London W14 8EZ
020 7371 2085

Monday evening at Cibo, a cold January evening, not a mouse stirring; it was like someone had died. A handful of diners, about 8.15pm. It filled up a bit later to about a third full. I'm trying to cover all the restaurants of Kensington and to be honest I wasn't looking forward to this. I'd been before. The place itself is jollier than the dramatis personae. Big chunky maiolica pots, wacky modern art and statues, though a strange and rather redundant empty bar which divides up the space.

The website says: "With seafood as its main appeal this is undoubtedly one of the finest a la carte Italian Restaurants for eating out in West London. Due to its location near trendy Notting Hill & Holland Park its also renown [sic] for the celebrity clientele it repeatedly attracts." It wasn't (one of the finest...) and they weren't there is all I can say.

We had spaghetti all'aragosta in salsa (spaghetti with lobster in its own sauce) £18.50 and sautee ai frutti di mare (assorted seafood and shellfish cooked in wine, tomatoes and herbs) £18.50. During our meal there was a loud throbbing. Is it the heat I thought, or the engine of a Porsche outside. We worked out that it was a tumble drier spinning above. The lobster I think had died some time ago and been laid to rest in a deep freeze. The flesh was flaky, overcooked, the body sticking to the inside of the shell. It tasted as though it had been frozen, de-frozen, over cooked and re-heated in a microwave. I can't be certain this was the progression but its what it tasted like. The sauce tasted like fresh tomatoes with sea water. It was patchily hot on a cold plate. It was impressively horrible. I tasted one of the mussels in the frutti di mare which had a similarly unfresh tasteless quality to it and was cold. I remember going to Cibo a long time ago and thinking it good. Things change. Never again.

Cibo on Urbanspoon

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