One thing we certainly don’t have a shortage of in Fulham is Italian restaurants. We have a plethora of outlets for pizza and pasta, ranging from the rough and ready delivery joint, through to truly authentic and high-end osterias, via the odd branch of Pizza Express and Strada along the way. However, the ones I like most, and derive the most pleasure from visiting, are none of the above (well, I do like some posh Italian too!) – I love the middle ground. The ones that are family run, packed full of character, and where the service is fantastic and comes with a cheeky wink and a smile. That’s why I can’t believe I was so late to the party on Casa Carlo, which Twitter informs me has long been a community favourite, albeit in their previous location in Fulham Broadway.
Casa Carlos occupies an enviable position on the edge of Eel Brook Common, boasting a sun-drenched dining room (during the rare occasions when the sun is shining), high vaulted ceilings, and some seriously fun decor. This place is covered head to toe in vintage ads, plaques, paintings and knick-knacks that give it bags of character, and the bar is fully stocked with a full range of Italian specialities (and covered in faux vines with light up grapes – what more could you ask for?!).
For a Thursday evening, Carlo’s wasn’t particularly busy but nonetheless our waiter could not have been more attentive. We kicked off with the lightly battered squid and courgette, as well as the mixed bruschetta. Both were delicious, and both enormous, so no need to worry about coming away hungry. Mains consisted of a gorgeous seafood risotto, packed full of crustaceans, and a crab linguine, which I’m afraid I found a little bland, but was well prepared and presented nonetheless. I also had my eye on the spaghetti al vongole, which appeared on the table next to ours and looked divine – next time!
We washed it all down with an excellent bottle of prosecco, and what Italian host would let his guests go away without an Italian digestif? Certainly not Carlo: we rounded off with a shot of limoncello, on the house.
Casa Carlo is charming, kitsch and welcoming all at once. The service is excellent, yet manages to feel laid back and casual (in a good way) at the same time. Carlo has been lending some Italian charm to SW6 for donkey's years and long may it continue - go check it out!
Eel Brook Common
New King’s Road
London SW6 4SU