SAPORI SARDI

786 Fulham Road, SW6 5SL
Tel: 020 7731 0755
FOOD ****
SERVICE ****
ATMOSPHERE ***

Cost per person without wine: £32.50

A true taste of the real Sardinia” promises the confident missive from Sapori Sardi. Situated on an uninspiring corner at the less glamorous end of Fulham Palace Road, near Putney Bridge station, it really needed to deliver. It does.

Owned and run by husband-and-wife team Piero and Rosa, the atmosphere is homely, with a varied and well-priced wine list. Most importantly, the food is exceptional, defying its modest surroundings. Chef Piero had initially swapped the heat of the kitchen for a rather more sedate life behind the deli counter; his return to restaurateur seems to have paid dividends.

We were greeted in effervescent manner by our Portuguese waiter, who thoroughly endeared himself to us by recommending a most original construction of Torglioni with Speck, Porcini and drizzled truffle oil. It consisted of a mound of finely grated pasta bound together with parmesan and wrapped in the smoked ham; the texture was quite literally melt-in-the-mouth and at just £9.50, trounces a splodge of scorching “Pollo Pesto” from the nearby Pizza Express. We also tried fresh meat ravioli with red pesto sauce, olives and Sardinian smoked ricotta, declared across the table to be superior to the Torglioni, which suited me just fine.

A nod to conventionality for the mains; Pan roasted baby lamb cutlets with rosemary and garlic and Grilled king prawns, mussels, squid and salmon fillet. Success of such dishes rests with provenance and both examples were spot on. The crustaceans tasted pleasingly of the sea, and the more delicate flavours of the salmon survived the grilling.

My only quibbles were that the lamb was under seasoned, there was a dull insistence on bedding both dishes on rocket and the chef was rather over-zealous with the butter knife. Simple isn’t always simple to achieve – but greedy enjoyment of both dishes was never in any real danger from these slip-ups.

If you live in the vicinity, book to avoid disappointment. If you don’t, travel – you can thank me later.