We are not short of Italian restaurants in SW6, some better than others and sadly plenty of personality-free chains. It was with childish delight that I discovered a new quirky, family-run and very tongue-in-cheek Italian trattoria on Fulham Road last weekend. Deciding to venture a little further than Parsons Green my friend and I took a stroll up the Fulham Road last Saturday night to see if we could find a Paglaccio equivalent in the Munster village neck of the woods.
Gola stuck out like a sore thumb as it was the only restaurant on the strip between Manson and The Wheatsheaf which was full of fulhamites and buzzy, little did we know quite how buzzy it would become... Despite arriving as nobodies with no booking we were greeted like old friends by the charming owner Aaron and promptly offered a glass of complimentary prosecco. Sitting at the bar we had a perfect people watching pew and immediately began admiring the higgledy-piggledy decor and kitsch furnishings. One of the first things to hit you when you enter this Italian Aladdin’s cave is the intense smell of garlic and parmesan. This comes from their signature dish, the cacio&pepe pasta which is an oven baked parmesan ‘bowl’ filled with cheesy pasta and seasoned with black pepper.
Following Aaron’s recommendation we ordered the tuna Carpaccio and calamari to start, both of which were superb. We soon realised that Gola is not a cheap and cheerful spag bol and red plonk joint. Aaron takes his food seriously and only imports the best quality ingredients and oils to ensure quality and authenticity. There is also a wine list to excite even the pickiest of oenophiles, ranging from a very drinkable house white to a £2,000 vintage red. The atmosphere, made all the more jovial by the personalized service Aaron gives to each customer, is lively and got increasingly louder as the evening wore on.
We devoured a mouth-wateringly delicious aubergine pasta and artichoke pizza to follow- both of which were fresh, flavoursome and very filling. It was only when we were one of three tables left in the restaurant that the party got started and we moved onto the Lemoncello and Aperol Spritz (when in Rome).
This restaurant is the type of place you can escape the humdrum, get comfortable and put the world to rights over a very good bottle of wine. It’s an Italian home from home and I cannot wait to return and bring my friends.