No problem at the newly renovated Al Forno on the Upper Richmond Road!
Two families getting together before the BIg Match between Chelsea FC & Fulham FC after Christmas means we need a table for nine - with speedy service as missing a moment at Craven COttage is not allowed for five fans aged 10 - 15 years their two dads and the mums were allowed to join in for lunch! Al Forno was not perturbed by the requirements and so we met at the newly refurbished restaurant to celebrate Christmas and ready ourselves for a win against CFC ( well we can dream - the final score was a respectable 2-2 draw!)
The menu offers something to suit all ages and tastes, including vegetarian and vegan dishes, pizzas and pastas. The Italian cuisine is some of the best in London with specialities from Umbria and Tuscany. The boys ordered a selection of pizzas(£10.85 for a medium which serves 2!) - the scale of the food was off the plate - literally you get the rectangular medium pizza on a board! Whilst the parents all went for various steaks and a palatable Montepulciano.
The Calzone(£8.40)was huge and somehow the 13 year old managed to put it al away - and our steaks(£11.95) were juicy and tender - those who ordered the sirloin in a pepper sauce(£12.95) were very complementary. We were disappointed that spinach was not on the menu but the selection of vegetables (£5.00)were al dente and very tasty.
The recent fire which closed the restaurant in December has resulted in an improved look with better access including double doors - a cold draft is a thing of the past - which bearing in mind the low temperatures over the festive period was a welcome addition.
The boys rushed off to the match and the mums managed to catch up further over two tasty frothy cappuccinos (I know - in Italy they are only for breakfast but they mean you can avoid the pudding selection as you feel you are getting more than a coffee - and at AL Forno you are as the complimentary glass of Lemoncello was very acceptable!) The bill was £174.79 which worked out at less than £19.50 a head - no one needed much for supper that night!
The restaurant has always been popular with big parties and families - younger children are always welcomed and the chef allows the kids to make their own pizza dough shapes which he kindly bakes once you are eating! Be warned if it is your party the whole waiting and kitchen staff don hats, instruments and sing a very cheerful if not always in tune rendition of "Happy Birthday"!
January 2, 2009