Tuesday, 5 April 2016
A Family Dinner at Verdi Italian Kitchen, The Royal Albert Hall
Every now and again, I really enjoy getting a little bit dressed up and heading out somewhere fancy for dinner. Pre-kids I'd do it all the time, but these days I struggle get a babysitter so it doesn't happen quite so often.
But THEN The Verdi Italian Kitchen asked Ruth from RocknRoller Baby and I if we'd like to take our children to review their kids menu, which of course we did, and which also meant I didn't have to worry about getting a babysitter! Yay.
We were already in town (staying at the Travelodge in London Docklands) so we put on our glad rags, jumped on the DLR and District Line to South Ken and worked up an appetite on the short walk from the tube station to the Royal Albert Hall.
There's no denying that the Royal Albert Hall is a seriously impressive and iconic building and I'd never been there before so there was much excitement as we arrived; from both adults and kids! The building was beautifully lit up, and we had to ascend a big sweeping staircase to get to the restaurant. On arrival we were greeted by two very happy and efficient hostesses, who knew who we were and took us straight to our table.
The restaurant was packed with pre-show diners (although it is also open for casual dining too) but, despite the extremely busy atmosphere (we arrived shortly before people started asking for their bills and going through to the auditorium) we received excellent service from the waiting staff throughout our meal.
While we were pouring over the AMAZING menu, we were given garlic and rosemary breadsticks to nibble on, which was just as well as it took us a long time to choose which delicious dishes we wanted! The kids were given colouring pages and pencils to keep them entertained, and our waitress also offered to bring their food first, which I think is always a great idea.
Kids can have either two courses of authentic Italian cuisine for £7 or three for £9. Of course our little piglets opted for the three, with garlic bread and crispy mozzarella balls to start, dishes of veal and pork bolognese pasta and brilliant bunny shaped pizzas for their mains and what they called 'nutella' ice cream for dessert (it was actually chocolate hazelnut praline ice cream but tasted pretty much the same i.e. DIVINE!).
We may have been there to review the kids menu, but us grown ups had to eat too! Ruth and I chose to share gamberi in pancetta and arancini siciliani for our starters (the prawns were the BEST I have EVER tasted!) I went on to have the insalata di Guiseppe as my main (a salad consisting of pancetta, baby spinach, avocado and roasted peppers with a balsamic dressing) while Ruth had the sea bass special, and then we each had two bigne alla crema, one filled with vanilla and the other with chocolate. We may or may not have also had a large limoncello each (and an espresso, of course).
Although the restaurant was busy when we first got there at 6pm, by half past it had quietened down quite significantly. If you're heading there to dine with children, I would definitely recommend going that little bit later if you can. Evie was really tired after a full day in London, and had a mini meltdown at the beginning of our evening and, although I took her outside, I was rather worried about disturbing the other diners. The staff were incredibly understanding though, and very accommodating - especially after I came back in with a three year old fast asleep on me!
Verdi serves the most exceptional and authentic Italian food, and is open from midday until 9pm Tuesday to Sunday (with afternoon tea being served in-between 2pm and 4.30pm). If you're nearby and looking for somewhere fancy to take your family for a special occasion I can't recommend it highly enough.
We were invited to Verdi Italian Kitchen for a complimentary meal. All views and photographs are my own.
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