Sardo. Sardinian, silly.
It was the meeting of what used to be the Book Club. We’d started well, all those years ago, reading good and worthy things and talking about them, over food. Obviously. There were, however, few books that we all liked. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was one. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was another.
Draw your own conclusions.
So, after a couple of years without, we decided to have a reunion, over food. L decided on Sardo’s. It hadn’t been on my radar. A little search of its website revealed it to be a restaurant specialising in Sardinian cuisine – hence the Sardo. Doh. Obvious when you know, innit?
It’s been around since 1998, so practically pre-historic in London restaurant terms.
It’s in Fitzrovia but not the trendy bit. Grafton Way. But don’t let that put you off. It’s a comfortable, room, albeit with a bizarre tree stump in the corner. The waitress said they’d been told to say it was Sardinian. It wasn’t.
And they use specialist Sardinian ingredients. But the menu is traditional Italian in the main, only a few dishes pointing to the Sardinian influences.
I went for the stuffed squid – Calamari Ripieni. The stuffing was a mixture of calamari and meat (unspecified) together with a tomato sauce with herbs and broad beans. I’m not entirely sure where the rest of the broad beans had got to, unless they were in the sauce. I couldn’t taste them though. The filling was interesting – meat and seafood mixed so it had a tang to it that was unexpected, but it worked well with the sauce. Simple and filling.
Malloredus alla Campidanese. With a name like an insult, I had to order it. Much less exotic than its name, this was traditional nib-shaped pasta, with durum wheat and a sauce of fresh tomatoes and aromatic sausage. I think the aromatic – as far as I could tell – was fennel. It was good. The pasta was nicely al dente and the dish was comforting in a superior spag bol sort of way. It’s the sort of thing you’d make at home and at £11.90 wasn’t badly priced.
The fregola, with courgettes, tomatoes and ricotta was a sort of Sardinian risotto, made with pasta, rather than rice and was a success. Again, not wildly priced at £13.50 for a generous plateful.
And whilst we all finished our plates, we caught up on each others’ lives.
L is rapidly becoming an expert on wine, working with a boutique producer and going back to school to gain even more wine knowledge. She looks 10 years younger than when she was working in the law. Can’t imagine why she left. Better than botox, leaving the law.
S, whose life is dramatic and brave and who can de-clutter your house in the bat of an eyelid, made us laugh with her stories of her over-achieving mother’s unbridled joy at seeing her personal website, lovingly created by S for her birthday.
And K, who has become a Samaritan – on top of all her other accomplishments – has a bag with a hidden section at the bottom, where a small folded umbrella is concealed and has to be tugged out. I’m not sure why, but that was all manner of wrongness.
And we mooted the re-birth of the book club. We decided that we would never agree on a book that we all wanted to read, so we would just come and talk about something interesting we’d read. Result. I can talk about cookbooks.
And they will try not to mention the Moby Dick débacle. I will clearly never be forgiven for choosing this as our third book, right at the beginning. Confession? I got to page 10.
This is a decent, simple neighbourhood Sardinian/Italian. The sort of place you would go to when you want to go somewhere untrendy and unchallenging but which is comfortable and reasonably priced. The sort of place where four loud women can be accommodated without any difficulty. It feels like it’s been there for years. I suspect (and hope) that it will be there for many more.