Chelsea has become the proud new home to London’s very first aperitivo and cicchetti venue. And it’s a match made in heaven since Ritorno, located on the King’s Road, exudes elegance. Everything here has been inspired by Italy: from the Milanese-inspired decor to the imported produce (some of which are exclusive to Ritorno only, including wines, olive oil and pasta), this premium lounge bar and kitchen is as authentic as they come.
My guests and I were welcomed warmly by the staff, who are all so friendly, passionate and knowledgable. Manager Giulio made some expert recommendations on both the food and drinks, and was the perfect host. To kick off the aperitivo experience head barman Paolo excelled in his domain. The Milan Mule is a twist on the Moscow Mule and is currently Milan’s drink of the moment, demonstrating how the staff are keeping one foot in London and the other firmly in Italy. The drink is zingy and refreshing with a light kick from that ginger mule. The Sicilia pleased Paolo (formerly of The Ritz) when we ordered it because being a proud Sicilian the exquisite cocktail is an homage to his home. It’s the colour of the sun and full of summery flavours, made with ingredients Sicily is proud of, such as blood oranges.
When it comes to the chicchetti, start with the artisanal bread basket, the Italian cured meat platter and the cheese platter. Bellissimo! Order the Burrata as well, incredibly light and refreshing, and just divine with a drizzle of Ritorno’s olive oil, which you can even buy in-house. The whipped salt cod was even more delicious than anticipated, while the pan-fried Milanese saffron risotto – a recommendation from Giulio – was a personal favourite, as was the Parmigiana in homemade bread crust, another recommendation from Giulio.
Even though they’re new to the area Ritorno has really raised the bar with its quality all round. And with the al fresco dining still to come when the weather picks up, I’m predicting them to be a very popular hangout this summer. The Mediterranean has come to West London.
For more information visit ritorno.co.uk