Staying in London for the summer but still yearning to get a true taste of Italy? Then look no further than Villa di Geggiano, a beautiful hidden gem tucked away on the leafy edge of the big smoke, Chiswick.
For over five centuries under the auspices of the Bianchi Bandinelli family, the Villa di Geggiano has been renowned for superb hospitality and generosity, and undoubtedly their delicious food and sumptuous wines. Located in the heart of Tuscany, in Chianti, and surrounded by vineyards and stunning gardens, it has a history of exporting splendid wines to England – having been possibly the very first to bring Chianti here in 1725. Now, Londoners are able to indulge in all the elegance, style and flavours that the region has to offer at Restaurant Villa di Geggiano in London.
Upon arrival, we took advantage of their beautiful lounge which was like walking into someone’s living room, ornately decorated with vintage sofas and furniture with a mix of modern and contemporary art pieces. The bar which we passed by as we entered was well-stocked, and we ordered a couple of their house cocktails: a VdiG Chianti Classico Sangria and a Passion for Aperol Spritz which are perfect summer quenchers.
The weather was a bit wet and temperamental that day, but we did pop out onto their outdoor terrace for some fresh air – this would definitely be a perfect place to while away those summer days in the sunshine with a (bottomless) glass of wine in hand.
Upon entering the main dining room, the bright tree-like centrepiece caught our eyes instantly, as it basked in the sunshine pouring in through the skylight above it. Mirrors create the illusion of extra space whilst multi-coloured hanging glass pendants and modernised stag head wall mounts add to the quirky decor. A grand piano adds a touch of grandeur to the place where live music is played on some evenings, but sadly not on a Sunday …
The menu features true Tuscan and Italian cuisine, with many of the ingredients being specially imported from the Villa and surrounding farms to the UK for the first time ever. The team had been carefully hand-picked and employ traditional techniques to recreate the essence of Italy.
Whilst hungrily perusing the menu, we nibbled on some homemade bread dipped in olive oil, and an amuse bouche which was a choux pastry filled with creamy burrata, topped with tomato and fresh basil leaf.
I was highly anticipating our first course of the evening after one of the lovely staff members mentioned that it was her favourite dish, and it definitely did not disappoint. It was the creamiest burrata served on a mint and courgette sauce with crunchy croutons that added a bit of texture. I was tempted to just lick the whole plate clean, but I instead did a cheeky wipe with the remaining foccacia which seemed slightly more polite in a public setting. If anyone ever found the benefits of using burrata as a facemask I would be one of the first to face-plant myself into one. Alas, I digress …
We thoroughly enjoyed this with a chilled glass prosecco – Mani Sagge, Prosecco Superiore Millesimato Extra Dry 2017.
The second course was pickled mackerel served with pickled baby vegetables, raisins and a dill mayonnaise. Now I am a huge fan of pickled food so this went down a treat for me – that punch of sharpness counter-balanced by the slight sweetness from the raisins.
This was paired with a beautiful pink-ruby coloured glass of Villa di Geggiano, Rosato 2017 IGT Toscana that had a fresh aroma of cherries. Made from 100% Sangiovese grapes harvested before the grapes for red wines, it is the youngest in their pedigree of wines.
No Italian meal would be complete without some homemade pasta and that duck and mascarpone ravioli with orange reduction ticked all the right boxes for me, perfectly crafted with a slight al dente texture as how I like it.
The perfect wine to pair with traditional Italian cuisine, we had the pleasure of tasting their bestseller, the Villa di Geggiano Chianti Classico DOCG 2015 (97% Sang, 3% Cab. Sauv.), which was a brilliant dark ruby colour with rich fruit aromas, especially cherries.
Our next savoury dish was a juicy piece of free range Scottish lamb cutlet, beautifully seasoned and grilled, served with a refreshing and vibrant tomato salad, drizzled with balsamic reduction. I always feel slightly conscious about being caught eating with my hands in restaurants, but I did take a cheeky nibble at the last remaining bit of meat on the bone – good food should never go to waste …
All washed down with a rich and velvety glass of Villa di Geggiano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2012 (97% Sang, 3% Cab. Sauv.).
Dessert was the popular traditional Tuscan almond cookies, cantucci, made with flour, eggs, butter, sugar, and almonds, served with a glass of dessert wine – Capezzana, Vin Santo di Carmignano Riserva 2009. Perfect for dunking, the cantucci readily soaked up the wine, producing a delicious flavour combination.
We were also given a brief tour of their intimate private dining areas which would be ideal for celebrating a special occasion with loved ones or even a business meeting that would surely impress your clients. You may find more information on their website here.
Many thanks to all the lovely staff at Villa di Geggiano for being highly accommodating to us that evening, and to the ever tasteful Mr. Douglas Blyde for the brilliant recommendation.
- I was a guest at Villa di Geggiano but all photos and views remain my own.