From the moment you enter Assaggi - via a modest door in an alleyway along a road of elegant Bayswater mews houses - you sense understated quality. Despite opening 17 years ago, Assaggi's dining room, on the first floor of a pub, is still hugely popular, often with locals returning again and again, media folk and diners who want an intimate setting for a special occasion. This is high end Italian cuisine with Sardinian influences from chef Nino Sassu.
Whether it’s a relaxing brunch or tea on the picturesque garden terrace (another feature of La Suite West) – this is a welcome deviation from the usual hustle and bustle just moments away. Vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes are the go here. Food at RAW awakens the taste buds, with thoughtfully prepared simple, clean foods and plenty to choose from - savoury breakfasts (free range eggs, of course) to the perky spiced pumpkin and coconut milk to perfectly searing and sweet Thai red vegetable curry.
RAW is a fresh example of how today’s vegetarian and vegan world has evolved into the rich tapestry of culinary thrills. Portobello mushroom burgers and courgette with rocket and mint pesto soup comprise some of the varied menu for mains while desserts on offer include chocolate fudge cake and cranberry and orange cheesecake.
Just as unique is the chic contemporary setting; a cool balance of minimal and laid-back. For the vegetarian, vegan, and all-food foodie, enjoy RAW.
If you're a regular, you're likely to be greeted with waving arms, quickly wrapped around you in a 'welcome back' hug. The decor is as unfussy as the entrance - simple, sturdy wooden tables and chairs, on a wooden floor, a Victorian fireplace and pretty sash windows. The airy room and clean lines broken with a few bold panels of art, adding colour to peachy walls.
The menu is written entirely in Italian, but don't let this put you off; the enthusiastic staff will take great pleasure and pride describing, nay singing, the deliciousness of each menu item to you. The food is fresh and packed with flavour. It's always imaginative, thoughtfully presented and modern. For wine aficionados, you can sip your way around the wine regions of Italy with their impressive wine list.
This unaffected, unpretentious restaurant may have special occasion prices, but it is well worth seeking out the delights behind its modest door in that run of elegant Bayswater houses.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday 12.30 - 14.30 and 19.30 - 23.00, Sunday closed
Underground stations nearby: Notting Hill Gate and Bayswater
Car Park: Arthur Court NCP and Bayswater Road NCP
Check out the Kay & Co office in W2 for a mouth watering selection of property sales and rental property in Bayswater.