I feel that I must also confess to being an addict of fine foods of a hearty nature, which is why I decided to sample the gastronomic delights of Latium, a chic fine dining establishment in the west end, famed for its immaculately presented dishes, exceptional selection of fine wines and delightfully overzealous obsession with ravioli.
I arrived ravenous and slightly flustered - having just been screwed over by Google Maps yet again (damn you Google Maps!) by being directed to a drab 1970's-esque office block.
All was good yet again once I found the place (close to The Sanderson Hotel) and nestled into the chair opposite my dining companion, excited about the frivolous feasting that was due to commence.
An enticing selection of antipasti was swiftly laid out in front of us - cured Italian meats, freshly baked bread, a shiny selection of olives, creamy Burrata cheese from Puglia and vibrantly green olive oil that smelt of a thousand Sardinian olive groves.
We had to fight the temptation to keep snacking on these heavenly offerings in order to preserve our appetites for the filling fayres to come. I kept silently repeating my 'bread is evil' mantra over and over again to prevent me from devouring the soft, fragrant ciabatta chunks and seductive slivers of Italian flatbread.
Our starters were a truly extravagant affair. A refreshing cold soup of potato cream, mushroom risotto tuille and summer black truffle, garnished with half a quail's egg was so good it nearly made me laugh out loud like a deranged convict upon being presented with a final meal on death row.
A colourful assortment of flavoursome fish-filled ravioli was also eagerly devoured, whereas the artistically-presented chard and ricotta ravioli lay shamelessly uneaten for some time due to the copious number of Instagram-worthy photos that were enthusiastically taken prior to its consumption.
The tuna tartare with broad beans, salmon caviar and pea shoots was slightly bland for my eccentric ethnic palate, yet I do have a rather unrefined habit of having to drown any raw fish in copious amounts of soy sauce (sushi fanatic that I am) before I can attempt to eat it.
Purely for the avoidance of dreaded steak envy, my dining chum and I both opted for the grilled fillet of beef served with fresh herbs, roast new potatoes and wild rocket salad - lavishly adorned with pungent Parmiggiano Reggiano shavings, which pleased my cheese-loving self.
The meat was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, which made me happy (overcooked steak makes me want to weep profusely into my napkin before calling over the waiter and blurting out, 'You call this a steak? More like a MIS-steak!)
|Such meaty succulence...|
Just when we thought we couldn't possibly nom any more, along plodded the puddings...
I'm still not quite sure how it happened. Everything was a sugar-fulled blur. I just remember being served a pleasing plethora of various Italian desserts until I felt my tummy yelping desperate pleas, such as 'make it stop,' and 'why isn't anybody stopping this?'
I don't usually consume sugar. Along with bread, I believe it is the tooth-eroding, skin-aging, cancer-causing (yeah I said cancer) devil, yet on this rare balmy summer night in London, in this wonderful little Italian restaurant with the pretty artwork on the mosaic walls, I let go of such anal thoughts and merrily gorged on the divinely sweet offerings laid out in front of me for my eating pleasure.
The eye-catching selection of sweet ravioli, with fillings such as apple, raisin, coconut, mint and candied fruits were slightly too 'experimental' for our savoury pasta-loving tastebuds, yet the creamy white chocolate mouse with strawberry puree, caramelized popcorn, licorice and mint was extremely well received - although we felt the mint was slightly overpowering. Still, it made the plate look rather pretty so we grew to accept its unusual puddingy presence.
We were then presented with a bowl of (incredibly indulgent) tiramisu each, which was the creamiest version we had ever tasted. I actually felt rather sad that the protruding presence of my food baby prevented me from finishing it. But hey ho, so is life...
Just when we thought it was all over, the sugar-barrage continued as we were served a plate of handmade chocolate truffles and petit fours with our extremely strong double espresso (hey, eating makes you sleepy and when in Rome...).
|Get in mah belleh...|
As if by magic, our appetites returned slightly, so we readily hoovered these down graciously, marveling in particular at the dark chocolate and cardamon truffles, which tasted as if they had been lovingly made by golden-haired, culinary-minded cherubs in foodie heaven.
|With Latium's very attentive general manager, Alex|
|Shameless posing in Latium's kitchen with head chef Maurizio Morelli and team|
If you seek exquisite fine dining with a modern twist and warm Italian hospitality in unpretentious surroundings, visiting Latium is a must.
Just be prepared for a food coma of a truly epic nature...
A meal for two at Latium including wine costs approximately £120