Friday, February 3rd, 2006

Scalini’s traditional, classy Italian dining attracts a constant stream of enthusiastic patrons here for the combination of enchanting atmosphere and satisfying, filling dishes.

The low ceilings, mirrored walls, and well-placed dividers grant a disorienting depth to the rooms, blurring the distinction between real tables and their reflections. The number of smokers could be off-putting to some, but decent ventilation ensures it never feels smokey, just comfortable and relaxed.

Scalini: Insalata Di Mare

Within a varied Italian menu, here are a few suggestions:

Insalata Di Mare – An absolutely immense portion of squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels, and clams. The squid in particular has a marvelous meaty texture I’ve never encountered with this frequently rubbery ingredient. A garnish of marinated pink peppercorns adds a spicy counterpart to the shellfish and lemon flavors.

Spinach, Cheese & Tortellini Soup – Reminding me immediately of an Italian answer to wonton soup, this chicken soup is a perfect starter for a winter night’s meal. This soup is also the single dish drawing an immediate “this is just like my grandmother would make” comment from my partner.

Veal Escalope – These hollow ovoids of veal stuffed with mozzarella and mushroom are served in a rich tomato and mushroom sauce. Tonight, they come with a side of shockingly fluffy yet moist baby potatoes, baked cauliflower, and green beans.

Scalini: Veal Escalope

Splitting a piece of creamy tiramisu for dessert tops off an excellent, filling meal. An average if overly bitter espresso makes me wish I had requested a drink with milk instead, although this does nothing to diminish the pleased, extremely full feeling in my belly.

Unsurprisingly, the half bottle of wine we imbibe makes up a reasonably large portion of the bill. A very nice bottle of chianti, full-bodied without the overly tannic flavor of cheap reds, it complements the meal nicely, but in the future, could easily be passed over in favor of paying more attention to the food, whose portions are daunting enough without filling up on wine as well.

Reservations are highly recommended, but, at least on a Sunday, can safely be made earlier in the same night.

1-3 Walton St
London, SW32JD

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