Tel: +44 (0)20 7637 0789
Address: 10 Wigmore Street, London W1U 2RD
Cuisine Type: Italian
nearest tube station Oxford Circus (VICTORIA, CENTRAL, BAKERLOO), Bond Street (CENTRAL, JUBILEE)

Wigmore Street is better known for its strange surgical appliance shops and the eponymous concert hall than fine dining, but Eddalino might just change that perception. An elegant establishment – minimalist beech wood, black leather and blue ceramics – near Cavendish Square, it houses something of an artist in chef Francesco Pesce. He takes the freshest of ingredients and produces dishes that, while they may be based on traditional regional Italian recipes, are anything but basic. The biggest problem at Eddalino is choosing your meal. The menu changes every month or so, with the addition of daily specials, and is mouth-watering.

Truffles being nicely in season the frittatina con tartufo nero – a black truffle omelette so light it was almost a soufflé – had to be tasted. It came with honey-braised pigeon and was stunning. A risotto with fresh crab, peas and saffron was light, delicate and delicious and – thank goodness – served in a sensible portion as a starter so that other courses were possible. I might have to go back to sample the porcini and gorgonzola soup, not to mention the potato and artichoke heart tartlet…

We were cowardly and opted out of trying the home-made pasta, worried about inserting an extra course. In fact one of the things I particularly liked about this place was that it would be possible to do the proper Italian thing, and work through antipasto, primo and secondo piatti, and still manage a dolci (or the tempting Italian cheese board).

Among the main courses Dover sole was perfectly filleted and served with black cabbage;petto d’anatra translated as crispy duck fillet actually wasn’t crispy, but was certainly tasty and came with a delightfully tart spinach puree and a tender slice of pan-fried goose liver. All the dishes are as good to the eye as they are to the palate.

Assuming that you have any interest in chocolate whatsoever, do not on any account miss the Tortino di cioccolato caldo (ten minutes’ notice). It comes with a tiny scoop of homemade toffee ice cream, which was the only disappointment of the meal – it was totally overpowered by the unbelievably rich, gooey centre of the little chocolate cake. Unbelievers have other good options, though – coconut ice cream with fresh pineapple in rum was pretty good, too.

There is an impressive wine list divided by Italian region, ranging from £16.50 a bottle upwards (to the stratosphere for some of the rarer offerings). A few notes about the selections – many of which are rarely to be found in the UK – would be helpful, but the staff are happy to advise. In fact the staff are terrific, managing to be totally unobtrusive but on hand exactly when you need them.

Eddalino is a class act. The menu is priced according to the number of courses – £25 for two, £29.50 for three and £34 if you go for the blow-out four, with a few dishes (not surprisingly, mainly those involving ingredients such as truffles) attracting a supplementary charge. For this standard of cooking, in elegant surroundings in central London, it’s a real bargain.

– Helen Wright, 2/2003