17 Limpsfield Road
Phone:- 0208 657 2953
Eva and I recently bumped into an ex member of La Brasa’s staff, who now works in Elio and gave us their card; so we decided to try it out last night.
Elio is a traditional family owned Italian restaurant offering an appetising range of meat, fish and pasta dishes.
The outside of the restaurant is modest and unassuming. However, the inside is warm, cosy yet spacious. The main dining room has seating for around 50 people, towards the back is a comfortable bar with enough seating for four separate groups of guests.
The ceiling of the bar area is decorated with football shirts. The walls are decorated with family photos and memorabilia, together with photos and testimonials of some of the celebrity guests who have dined there.
The dining room has a suspended wooden beamed ceiling hung with Chianti bottles and bunches of grapes.
The tables were laid with light pink tablecloths, napkins and “Tiffany lamps”.
We had booked, and when we arrived we were initially offered a table that was not terribly well positioned. However, after a brief word we were asked if we minded having a drink in the bar whilst another table could be made ready for us. No problem with this, a couple of gin and tonics; whilst leisurely reading the menu is a pleasant way to ease yourself into the meal!
The restaurant offers a variety of traditional Italian food including veal, steak, pasta and fish. In addition to the printed menu there was a blackboard, which displayed the specials of the day; including lamb shank and mussels.
The wine list is unfussy and inexpensive.
The service was attentive, friendly and efficient. The restaurant was busy, but the owner found time to go round the tables and talk to his guests. Being a family run restaurant all members of the family were “roped into” serving; including the granddaughter, who was on dessert trolley duty.
I started with the cannelloni; which was rich, creamy and warming a good start.
As a main course I tried the lamb shank, which was succulent and braised to perfection; so that meat fell off the bone. This was served in a rich, dark red wine sauce which was exceptionally flavoursome. Sauté potatoes, broccoli and carrots were included in the meal. These were fresh and professionally cooked, not overdone.
Eva started with a very generous portion of mussels in a creamy white wine sauce. They were excellent, the flavours complimented each other no one ingredient overpowering the other.
As a main course Eva had the veal with Parma ham in a sage and white wine sauce; most excellent and not, as can sometimes happen with Parma ham, too salty.
Eva finished off with fresh strawberries which were disappointing, wooden and flavourless; but fresh strawberries in January is a little unlikely!
The overall meal, which included a bottle of Chardonnay, four gins, two Remy Martins and an Irish coffee, came to £81 before tip; good value.
We will add this restaurant to our list of favourites, and definitely visit it again. Salut!