It’s a cold Tuesday on what should be a lush spring evening. I shield myself from the sideways rain as I fight with my umbrella in the entrance of Sale e Pepe. A chic Italian restaurant in the heart of Knightsbridge’s famous shopping quarter. I’m greeted warmly by Elisa, the restaurants engaging and exuberant Maître’d. It’s not long before a glass of bubbly is thrusted into my hand, and I’m sat at the bar eating ginormous green olives and putting the world to rights with my guest.
The restaurant flung open its doors in the 70’s. The owner, known only as Toni, did well to keep a very tight knit atmosphere amongst his staff, most of whom still work here to this day. The restaurant expanded to the next-door premises during the 80s’ creating the bar area, giving the restaurant a more casual vibe.
We are shown to our seats, a mix of Euro pop and classic Italian tunes sound track our evening and, even though there is only another table or two filled, there’s a real buzz floating around the place, and I feel immediately settled. Elisa comes over to explain the menu, a mix of traditional Italian dishes, some given an all-important and unique twist from the head chef. I’m a self-proclaimed wine snob and they did exceptionally well in guiding me to the most perfect white wine, an Italian Giulia, to sup on during our meal.
To start, we decide to share the tuna tartar and parmigiana – forks clashing as we dig into our delicious dishes. The tuna is meaty in texture and exceptionally fresh and flavoursome. The parmigiana was to die for, a soft nutty mix of tomato and cheese that was probably the best parmigiana I’ve ever eaten!
The mains arrived. We decided not to opt for your typical pizza or pasta options. I went for the king prawns bathed in garlic, parsley and tomato and my guest the pan-fried veal Milanese. We accompany both with sautéed potatoes, steamed spinach, and green beans. The prawns literally melted in my mouth. I nod my head and raise my fork with appreciation. My guest’s veal was huge, so much so she took a doggy bag home.
More wine consumed. More banter with Elisa and the wait staff. More smiles and spoon fights as we share a tiramisu. This place warmed my cockles and made me feel like I was amongst friends rather than the usual uptight Knightsbridge establishment. This is a jewel in West London’s crown, and I implore you to visit as soon as you can.
Sale e Pepe
9-15 Pavilion Road