265 Croydon High Street
Phone:- 0208 688 7998
L´unico was opened in the last twelve months, on the site of another Italian restaurant. It comprises an intimate Italian restaurant on the ground floor.
Eva and I visited it last Saturday, and have been there a couple of times before; we have thoroughly enjoyed each visit.
The restaurant is intimate, but not cramped, ideal for a romantic meal or larger civilised gathering. Although it is situated on the High Street, with its varied selection of passing/staggering “nightlife” on Fridays and Saturdays, the outside “hullabaloo” does not intrude.
The décor is soothing and balanced; the walls are light peach in colour and the floor polished hardwood. The tables are properly laid, with well pressed tablecloths and napkins.
The restaurant is well staffed, and we were very warmly welcomed by the manager. Although the restaurant is intimate and, being a Saturday, it was busy the atmosphere is not claustrophobic or intrusive. I would recommend booking, as all the tables were occupied when we dined there.
On our first visit there was a live guitarist playing, I hasten to add an acoustic not electric, guitar. This was very pleasant and non intrusive; I am not sure as to when, or how often, L´unico offer live music.
The restaurant is Italian, but offers something a little more than the standard “Spag bol” indeed the word bolognese does not appear anywhere on the imaginative menu. The extensive menu offers a range of fish, fowl, meat and pasta dishes-freshly made on the premises (the latter can be taken as a starter or main course).
Should you wish something that is not specified on the menu then ask, if the ingredients are available, they will be happy to cook it. On a previous visit, feeling particularly hungry, I asked for a couple of fried eggs to be served with my steak; no problem!
As noted, we were warmly greeted and shown to our table. The service is attentive and friendly; as soon as we were seated we were offered our menus together with a complimentary bowl of olives and basket of bread.
I started with the lasagne, which was firm and had body and texture; unlike some restaurants’ versions of lasagne it was not presented in a glutinous bubbling sauce that overpowered the pasta.
I followed on with the “pollo a diavola”, a spatch-cocked poussin cooked with chillies and garlic. This was excellent, a good size, very piquant (not too spicy) and succulent. The chicken needed the accompanying finger bowl as in order to get every piece of flesh from the carcass I had to use my hands (a very satisfying experience!).
The chicken came with sauté potatoes, which were well cooked and very tasty. I also ordered a side dish of peas and carrots for Eva and myself to share. Unfortunately, they were delayed and did not appear until we had more or less completed our main course. Although they looked good we sent them back, as eating vegetables on their own was a little pointless; needless to say we were not charged for this.
Feeling suitably replete I did not have a dessert; but rounded off the meal with an Irish coffee, which was hot and well presented.
Eva started with a good sized portion of mussels in a white wine sauce; she was very please with them. She then had veal escalope with Parma ham, in a sage and white wine sauce. She thought it was excellent; although, for her personal taste, she felt it would benefit from being presented with a little more sauce. Sauté potatoes were served as the accompaniment.
Eva also had an Irish coffee, we were then offered a complimentary liqueur. I had a dessert wine, which I must say was a little sharp for my taste, Eva had a Cointreau.
The overall meal, which included a good bottle of Chardonnay, came to a very reasonable £52 before tip.
I present below a few, well intentioned, suggestions; which I hope are taken by the management in the spirit in which they are intended:
Serve the vegetables at the same time as the main course.
Consider adding a sweeter dessert wine to the wine menu.
Definitely a cut above the average Italian restaurant. We both agree that we enjoyed our evening, and are very happy to recommend it to others.