After returning from a five day trip in Lanzarote (where the population was made up of pensioners, families and couples), I couldn’t wait to get back to my hectic London life. And what better way get back into the groove of things than with a review of C’Alice; Fulham’s newest Italian restaurant and wine bar.
Firstly, I’d like to say hats off to C’Alice’s owners, Alice Ravelli and Giovanni Di Stefano, in the respect that they managed to make their restaurant weather-ready. Their window-doors open onto a cute al fresco area where three to four, two-seater tables spill out onto the street (a big win when facing the wrath of British weather). Luckily for us, we visited on an evening where the weather decided to play ball, letting us wine and dine in the sun.
Moving inside, C’Alice’s space is gifted with natural light thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, which only places more emphasis on the hundreds of bottles of wine they display as you walk in the door. Tactically the bar resides opposite, and with so many dangling glasses urging you to sample as many wines as your palate can manage, guaranteed you'll be planning your next visit before you even sit down.
Having already mentioned that we were seated outside, we didn’t get a proper feel for the inside dining area; but it looked super cosy with colourful chairs bringing a playful element amongst the neutral surroundings. Around 9pm we noticed couples spilling out here though, making me believe that it's the spot to reside in, come nightfall.
The Food and Drink
Seeing as my reviews are becoming more truthful by the upload, I’m going to let you know that I actually knew my food order a week before visiting C’Alice. I’d like to think this makes me a foodie but let’s be honest, it just makes me a really hungry 23 year old that gets way too excited about food. So, after an extensive Instagram creep, I had no choice but to order their Capesante al Pompelo £12, that’s pan-fried scallops in grapefruit juice to you. Not only were they massive, and a meaty mouthful, but immaculately presented with tiny wild flowers. My company opted for the Tomino Piemontese con pancetta o chiodini £8.50 (Tomino cheese wrapped in pancetta, served on a bed of greens and yogurt dressing). If you have a small appetite I’d recommend sharing this starter as it’s quite heavy, but delicious nonetheless. For mains, we both opted for the Salmone Special Dello Chef in Crosta di Papavero £18, the Chef ‘s special poppy seed roasted salmon served in a sweet beetroot puree with sautéed asparagus alongside a portion of Skinny Fries £3.50 and fresh Broccoli £4. Usually I’m left feeling uber guilty after scoffing a main course, but this dish was the perfect healthy option to reel in missing nutrients and vitamins.
To accompany all these lovely dishes, we sampled both red and white wine, in the end we gave a strong nod towards a bottle of Itynera Primitivo Puglia Igt. A bit of a bold choice seeing as white goes with fish, but who can deny a craving for red wine when it springs up? Being completely full up, myself and my companion decided to swap dessert for a cocktail. Queue the classic Cosmopolitan and Espresso Martini. Unfortunately the martini had way too much of a coffee-kick for my liking, and I ordered a Mojito instead.
Okay, I know I might have given a bit of a dig about being on an island densely populated with families, but we all know that nothing beats a family-run restaurant. They take pride in sourcing quality produce over bulk buying and inject the same amount of passion into every dish that leaves the kitchen; starter, main AND dessert. Having worked alongside my father in such an establishment during University, I’m delighted to see the same passion and charisma trickling through each layer of C’Alice. Its staff were beyond friendly and you could tell from the off that they cared about the restaurant’s welfare. Our waiter, Carmelo, was on the ball from the minute we sat down to moment we stumbled out the door (in a classy fashion, of course). Many people seem to base the atmosphere of a restaurant on its crowd, and forget to acknowledge what the people on the floor bring to the table (no pun intended here, promise). Don’t get me wrong, this is important, but I feel the staff are what tie everything together in one neat little bow and the staff here done exactly that. All in all, C’Alice maintained a lively, yet relaxed atmosphere throughout our stay; plenty of families and mid-twenty year olds were clinking glasses and sharing dishes, showing me that C'Alice's vision of a venue revolving around wine, food and talk is catching on.
After visiting C'Alice's family-run restaurant, the only type of chain I wanna see in the next couple of months is one hanging from my chunky neck. Whether you want a seasonal glass of wine or a full on three-course meal, these guys can offer it all; with a side of sunshine if the weather permits it.