Should you find yourself in Wimbledon over the next week or so – I hear the tennis is quite good 😉 🎾 – I’ve got a great foodie recommendation…
San Lorenzo is an independent Italian restaurant in Wimbledon, a mere 2 minutes away from the station. It’s refined but unflashy, contemporary but not in an overbearing way, and really friendly – Ghigo and his family will make you feel like you’re guests in their home and are more than happy to make recommendations as they wander around taking plates and saying hello to regulars. It feels spacious – the tables aren’t on top of one another, so it’s great whether you’re enjoying an intimate meal for two or group celebration – and it’s really light.
It’s won a plethora of awards including Time & Leisure’s ‘Best Eating Experience in Wimbledon Town’ last year (this year they’re crossing their fingers for ‘Local Restaurant of the Year’ and you can vote for them here), and is a regular haunt for all the big names in tennis. Think Boris Becker, Andy Murray, Venus and Serena Williams, and Maria Sharapova, as well as some of Hollywood’s finest including Tom Cruise, Ridley Scott, Pierce Brosnan and Nicole Kidman. But enough about them…
The team at San Lorenzo were quick to seat us and offer water and wine. We went for a bottle of Chianti and the first sip took me straight back to our fab trip to Florence where we drank ALL the Chianti! Food-wise, to start I ordered mozzarella, tomato and avocado, and it came with lashings of olive oil, salt and pepper. I think this dish is a real testament to keeping things fresh and simple. The avocado was perfectly ripe and slightly nutty (remember when avos tasted like that?), the tomatoes were juicy but firm, and the cheese was really creamy. Alex went for asparagus with chalky, shaved Parmesan and a gorgeous balsamic that delivered just the right amount of tartness.
It was hard not to plump for pasta for my main – made from scratch by San Lorenzo’s chef of course, there’s no pre-packaged food in this joint – but Alex covered that with his choice of wild boar ragu and woodland mushroom pappardelle, so I opted for one of the specials: grilled lamb cutlets with rosemary, red peppercorns and broad beans. The ragu was superbly unctuous and meaty and the pasta had just the right amount of bite. My lamb was so beautifully tender and juicy, my only wish was that there was more. Like 12 more cutlets. I could handle it, I swear. The red peppercorns were a particularly pleasant, flavourful idea and thankfully not at all too much if you bit into one.
San Lorenzo’s menu is clever. We felt satisfied after two courses and almost half a bottle of wine each, but not so stuffed that we couldn’t order dessert. In fact, I had the perfect semifreddo-shaped space left – especially after Ghigo came to tell us about it. It was really creamy and I especially liked the hard candy-like shard in the top of it for a contrasting crunch. Alex had the chocolate and orange tart, which was every bit as decadent as you’d imagine from an authentic Italian eatery.
And then we carried our full, happy bellies all the way home. The end.
San Lorenzo, 38 Wimbledon Hill Road, London SW19 7PA
Book a table by calling 020 8946 8463
*This meal was kindly provided by San Lorenzo free of charge, but all opinions are my own and have not been influenced by the fact I didn’t pay – if I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend, you won’t see it here on Plates and Places.*