It’s becoming increasingly difficult in London to find an Italian restaurant that doesn’t go overboard with the garlic or offer meatballs in a ketchup-like sauce with spaghetti. That’s why we were so happy to stumble upon La Collina: a neighbourhood restaurant that’s all about real Italian food. The charming team are renowned for serving up immaculately cooked dishes with a big helping of Italian flair, so we popped in on a Friday night to see what all the fuss is about…
La Collina is the definition of a neighbourhood favourite. It’s sat on a quiet, cobbled residential street in the heart of Primrose Hill, (just a few minutes’ walk from Camden station) and has a glass frontage that shows off the warm, cosy interior and buzzing atmosphere.
We were welcomed warmly by the Italian staff, who took our coats (brownie points) and pulled out our chairs. The style of the restaurant is simple - think rustic wooden floors, tables lit by candlelight and a small bar at the back of the room. There’s also a lovely little terrace area that allows diners to eat al fresco in the warmer months, and a downstairs dining room that opens out onto the kitchen.
Their all-Italian wine list is almost as exciting as the menu, and we were given some beautifully plump olives and cheese and tomato nibbles to snack on as we pondered over regions and grapes. After tasting the au d'oeuvres, we knew the food was going to be exceptional.
We weren’t wrong. We opted for the burrata con prosciutto crudu to start which was an exquisite dish. The quality of ingredients was top notch; the cheese was deliciously fresh and creamy, and the tasty parma harm had been cured for 24 months, and there was a lot of both to go around.
For mains, I finally decided on orecchiette con fonduta di gorgonzola e radicchio - homemade orecchiette with gorgonzola fondue and red radicchio. The pasta was small and ear-shaped and was generously lashed with a creamy, fondue cheese sauce, which just melted in the mouth. My dinner date went for tuna steak, which was beautifully light and tasty, and served with baked cherry tomatoes and spinach.
The service throughout was faultless and we were waited on hand and foot. Unfortunately we were too full for dessert, so I’ll be back very soon to try their amaretto and rhubarb cake!
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