3:17pm Thursday 24th May 2012
By Fiona Morley
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one hasn’t eaten well. So says restaurant owner Fabrice Irtelli.
Of Sicilian descent, Fabrice, who comes from a family of restaurateurs, has brought a taste of Italy to Orpington with his establishment, Osteria da Fabrizio.
As soon as you enter the restaurant you are overwhelmed by the delicious smells of spit roasted chicken and porchetta that you can eat in or take out.
The deli counter is stocked with cured meats, cheeses, marinated olives, homemade breads, as well as pastries and gateaux. For authentic Italian cuisine at home, there is also a choice of pastas, sauces and store cupboard ingredients on sale.
The philosophy of Osteria is simple, to enjoy well cooked fresh Italian food in friendly, comfortable and unpretentious surroundings.
Our waiter Massimiliano, from a small town near Naples called Avellino, was charming and soon we were tucking into warm Focaccia and olives. He suggested a bottle of the Irpinia Aglianico (£18.95) to accompany our meal – an Italian wine from the region of Vinosia with a rich, smooth taste.
The wine list is extensive but not expensive and includes two Sicilian house wines Normanno Insolia and Normanno Nero d’avola which are both good quality and cost £9.95 a bottle or £3.20 a glass.
There are plenty of food choices too. On the board you can pick from a selection of sharing platters, Stuzzichini (small, tasty dishes commonly served as an appetizer or snack) and Italian canapés.
For my starter I chose the Gamberoni alla Griglia (£5.95), chargrilled King Prawns on bed of rocket salad with lemon olive oil. These are a must if, like me, you love fresh prawns. My companion opted for Fegatini al Balsamimico (£5.20). This was chicken livers with Italian pancetta served in a red wine and balsamic vinegar and were soft with a rich flavour.
Our main course selections had a distinctly fishy theme. I went for Rissotto Alla Pescatora (£7.95) - succulent king prawns along with a variety of other seafood in a white wine, tomato and herb sauce. My dining partner chose the Fritto Mistro (£9.95) containing golden fried king prawns, baby calamari, sea bass and red mullet fillet. Both dishes were superbly cooked and were full of the flavours of the Mediterranean.
We don’t generally have desserts but couldn’t resist the Crème Brulee and Tiramisu, both home made by Fabrice’s wife from a traditional family recipe which were absolutely delicious.
We gave the restaurant full marks for its ambience and beautifully presented freshly cooked Italian food. Whatever you choose, a continental breakfast, casual lunch, take away from the rotisserie or deli, a relaxing dinner for two or simply meeting up with friends for a bottle of wine and some Stuzzichini, Osteria is a winner all round.
Osteria da Fabrizio, 254 High Street, Orpington, Kent BR6 0LZ. For more information or to book a table, call 01689 874488.
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