"I can see myself popping back regularly when I want to enjoy a quiet and friendly atmosphere with no-nonsense Italian food. "Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed this little gem before – it’s right in the middle of popular Church Street in Twickenham and really handy for the riverside and the various rugby-flavoured pubs.
A friend had arranged for me and another pal to meet for afternoon tea on Saturday. But she hadn’t checked whether tea was available so we found ourselves having a late light lunch instead.
The décor is plain but pleasant, dark wood floors and tables and chairs. It’s brighter in here than other nearby Italian restaurants. Suitably rustic, there are some lovely brass reliefs on the walls too. And I must mention that opposite a small bar towards the back is a stunning fireplace area (with a real fire) with a couple of small tables nearby. Sadly, they were taken. There is also a fish tank containing gliding gold fish. t’s deceptively large – considering the small frontage. Maybe that’s why I hadn’t noticed it before….
Anyway, my friend ordered the Scialatielle (large pasta tubes with king prawns, calamari, cod and cherry tomatoes £ 9.95) and they didn’t bat an eyelid when she requested the tomatoes be omitted. She reported that it had a good flavour although the fish element seemed small. The Focosa pizza I ordered (spicy sausages, mozzarella, tomato sauce and red chilli £7.50) was satisfying although pretty much as expected.
The third member of our party only wanted something light as she was eating later. So she asked for a mozzarella and tomato salad which wasn’t on the menu – and I chipped in with “Tricolore”. I like when restaurants don’t make a fuss when requests are made. However, the salad was a pretty uninspiring mound of tomatoes and mozzarella and she asked for a rocket salad to accompany it.
Two of us had a glass of wine (Rosaspina Calabria £4.25) and the other has a white wine spritzer and we all had coffee (which was excellent – and we really liked the brightly coloured rustic cups and saucers) at the end. The bill came to £46 which seemed reasonable.
The place is run by Livio and Lucia. They source fish from a well-known local fishmonger, vegetables from Covent Garden market and dried meats are imported from Italy. We had a quick chat with the chef as he walked through – and he explained that avocados were not used in mainstream Italian cooking when challenged. I liked him.
They also serve breakfast (two eggs, two bacon, pork sausage, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and homemade toasted bread - £6.25) until 12:00. And there are a range of main courses (e.g. veal escallops with white wine and sautéed oyster mushroom sauce with roast potato £11.95, calves liver with pink pepper sauce and spring onion mash £12.95 and marinated king prawns and cod skewers with red onion and sautéed spinach £12.95, sea bass fillet cooked in white wine, garlic and cherry tomato with potatoes and asparagus £11.95) if you don’t fancy pizza or pasta or salad. And, of course, there are desserts and gelati.
I liked the place. And I can see myself popping back regularly when I want to enjoy a quiet and friendly atmosphere with no-nonsense Italian food. And I know that my teen kids and various friends will feel entirely comfortable there.
KimT reviewed Masaniello on Wed 27 Mar 2013