Chelsea is an area of London which is abundant with independent restaurants, quaint cafes and friendly staff. The night before my graduation I headed to Gastrovino on Kings Road with my parents, an Italian which has been described by many as a “hidden gem”.

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The style of food is Italian tapas, but bigger main dishes are on the menu too. We started off with a sharing board, which always excites me as it takes me back to eating in Florence a year ago where the majority of the evening is dominated by foodie related conversation.

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The waiter was quick to recommend a red wine once we had said we fancied a syrah to go with the meal and he got it spot on. The arched walls and wine bottles littering the restaurant just screamed “wine bar”, which added a lovely feel to the evening.

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Generally, I’ve only eaten steak tartare in pricier restaurants, but Gastrovino offer a tapas plate to share for £7 which was such a bargain and so delicious.

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Aubergine Parmigiana

For three people we ordered one sharing board and six dishes to share, which was more than enough. The aubergine parmigiana was comfort food at its finest, a rich tomato sauce with a generous amount of melted parmesan.

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Sea bass carpaccio on the left and calamari and king prawns on the right

As a family, we are obsessed with seafood! I’ve never had sea bass carpaccio before, but it’s a really light and refreshing dish, especially with the mustard and watercress mayo. The sea bass was sliced very thinly and had a perfect texture. For any sashimi lovers out there, this is a different type of raw fish experience, so it’s worth trying out. I could have stayed here all evening and sampled all of the different but I was well and truly stuffed!

Gastrovino is one of those places that you know you’ll be coming back to very soon the moment you finish your meal. A meal for two with wine is around £80 and if my blog hasn’t fully convinced you yet, then the dazzling five-star reviews on Trip Advisor should put this on your London restaurant bucket list.

Take a peak at the website http://gastrovino.co.uk

Friday was a special night for me, I discovered my favourite new restaurant in London.

I’ve always had a love for antipasti, meat & cheese boards. Whether it’s because they remind me of Summer holidays abroad or family buffets at Christmas, there really is nothing better. Antipasti boards are sociable and casual, normally enjoyed over a bottle of wine and the constant vocal admiration over the variety of food in-front of you, such as the “tangy French cheese” you just tried for the first time and how well it “compliments the chutney.”

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Cork & Bottle have an extensive 34 page wine list

‘Cork & Bottle’ just off of Leicester Square is where I found paradise! Making my way down the spiral staircase I was greeted by a warm, cosy and bustling wine bar with every table in sight packed full. After-work glasses of wine were being had at the bar, whilst full blown meals were being enjoyed on the tables around us. The red tiled floor, wooden stools, quaint glass framed photos and bottles of wine decorating the room transported me to a different country in an instant.

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Despite it being incredibly busy, all of the staff were as polite as ever. As we waited, we eyed up all of the meats and cheeses in the ‘deli style’ counter.

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We were only made to wait twenty minutes for a table on a Friday night with no reservation. To our upmost surprise we were given the best table in the restaurant after the group before us left early – we were informed that normally it can take up to two weeks to book ‘the booth.” It must have been our lucky day!

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The booth

Tucked away from the main part of the wine bar and the restaurant we had the space all to ourselves.

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Whilst we sipped on a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, we read through the menu and really struggled to not over-order.

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We went for the duck liver pate to start and a selection of cheeses and the Cork & Bottle plate for a main to share – needless to say, we were stuffed.

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Duck liver pate

The lovely lady who served us offered to pick our cheeses for us and oh my, she did a good job. The “Vacherin” cheese found at the bottom of the cheese menu is the gooey, delicious mess that you can see  pictured below, it was like a brie but creamier and more rich, I would definitely recommend it.

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There was another antipasti plate to accompany the plate above (on the right), which took a little longer to prepare and included fried calamari and perfectly cooked duck

Cork & Bottle is my new favourite place and I’ll be back here very soon!

If you want to visit:

44-46 Cranbourn Street,
London WC2H 7AN
United Kingdom