Sunday, July 10, 2011

Back in London or Italy?...At Buonasera at The Jam

I'm back in London, readers, as part of my daytime gig. And in addition to being responsible and working diligently on a big project I came here for, there's always time for fun and some good ol' food exploration. 

Taking this trip to uncover new areas of London I haven't yet seen, I ventured over to the posh Chelsea (more specifically Sloane Square) and participated in a Sunday night London Walk that was themed around the famous sights in Chelsea as well as a pub crawl rolled into one.  It was a great time, and I was happy I once again channeled my adventurous side and set out on an unfamiliar journey solo.  While some of you may find this scary to do in a foreign country, I love it and have a nice time meeting new people and sampling typical regional cuisine. With this tour, it was more like regional booze and architecture, but you get the point.

After the tour was over, I was, needless to say starving and took a recommendation to wander down the famous King's Road for something interesting and delicious. 

It didn't take long at all to stumble upon an interesting little (literally tiny) restaurant that seemed charming and very out of the ordinary called, Buonasera at the Jam

Buonasera captured my interest from the start, as the outside was cheery, colorful and reminded me of an off-beat tree house.  "Why a tree house," you may wonder? Well...mainly because I peeked inside and saw the funky floor to ceiling wooden paneling that made up a dining room of intimate booths. 

As it was late, the restaurant wasn't overly busy, but definitely still had a fair amount of patrons, which was a good sign for late-night Sunday.  I walked in, took a seat at an empty booth and was immediately greeted by a friendly waitress. 

Upon giving me the menu and some time to make my decision (which didn't take long), I began to look around and took in my surroundings.  Shocked, stunned and tickled by the seating, I noticed something new.  Not only was the "tree house" style seating endearing on the ground floor, but there were literal tree house tables one level up that you had to get to through the help of a ladder.  I was amazed at the ingenious way Buonasera took advantage of a small space, at the same time making it inventive, fun and a novelty for patrons.  Even though the picture isn't great, check out what I mean by the "tree house" feel in the above shot.

As you can probably tell by its name, Buonasera is an Italian restaurant - a very homemade, comfort-foody Italian restaurant.  There were plenty of daily specials including fresh pasta, at least a dozen varieties of crostini, seafood options, Italian homestyle soups, risotto, salads and more.

Even though I was tempted to get pasta, I went for the next best thing, risotto.  Immediately excited by the special with squid ink risotto, salmon, peas and cheese, I just had to have it.  I asked the waitress what she thought of it, and she confirmed it was a good choice.

Squid Ink Risotto with Salmon and Peas - First judging the dish with my eyes, I loved what I saw - a deeply colored bowl of creamy black rice, dressed with beautiful pink cubes of salmon and bright green little pea gems.  I couldn't wait to dig in and was only happy to dress this looker further with fresh parmigiano cheese and ground black pepper. 

My first spoonful proved just as delicious as this dish looked.  I loved that the rice was cooked perfectly (al dente) and was flavored with fresh essence of the sea from the squid ink.  The cheese was an absolute must in my book, as it added an element of tanginess - that true Italian flavor we recognize in good risotto.  Each cube of the salmon was a delight too and added more heartiness to this dish.  I enjoyed the nice texture of the fish that flaked perfectly and certainly didn't get overcooked.

Service and Cost:
The service here was, as the Brits say, "brilliant." Not only were all the servers attentive and sweet, they did a great job of being speedy too.  I never felt neglected, and saw this to be the case with other patrons too.  On a side note, I marveled at how the waitstaff hopped from table to tree house, resembling skilled acrobats whose jobs went far beyond just "waiting tables."

I would absolutely return here and try their fresh pastas and other entrees.  And as you can probably imagine, since the above mentioned risotto portion was so huge, I ended up taking 1/2 of it in a doggy bag. Yum - more for later!

3 Lovely Mmmms

Buonasera at the Jam - 289a Kings Road, London SW3 5EW
020 7352 8827

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