As a Londoner, I’m quite ashamed to admit to having only recently discovered the treasure trove of delicious food and drinking holes that make up Kingsland Road. Needless to say, I was beyond excitement at the prospect of trudging down on a Tuesday evening to visit Amici Miei. Given that I couldn’t really pronounce the name, my hopes of feasting on authentic Italian grub were sky high.
The Venue & Atmosphere
If you hadn’t been looking, you could easily have walked right past this spot from the outside, due to the modest, cafe-esque grey front. Inside however, you’ll discover that Amici Miei boasts a lively colour scheme, matching bold yellows with grey tones; it's charming, especially when contrasted to the wooden tables and exposed brickwork. The restaurant itself is set in a smallish room but instead of feeling cramped, the white walls, low-hanging yellow lamps and heavy lit, blue tiled bar gives it a polished feel.
After brushing up on my Italian, I found that Amici Miei meant ‘My Friends’, which seemed to perfectly reflect the atmosphere of the restaurant. I went on a Tuesday evening, so although it wasn’t particularly busy, there was a friendly buzz about the place. Despite this neck of the woods being hipster central, the crowd was a mix of couples, solo diners, families and the steady flow of Deliveroo riders. In terms of casual dining this ticks of all of the boxes.
The Food & Drink
With a quick glance at the cocktail list, I went for a classic Aperol Spritz (£7), served in a large glass and incessantly refreshing until the last sip. My guest went for the Passion Fruit Martini (£7), composed of a vodka base with an infusion of passoa, gomme syrup and passion fruit.
The place is known for its authentic wood-fired sourdough pizzas but the menu offers plenty of other dishes too. I started my meal with the Frittura di mare (£11), which consisted of two hearty tiger prawns and fresh squid, complemented beautifully by the creamy garlic mayo. Although squid can run the risk of being tasteless, that was far from the case here. The mouthful of Tuna tartare (£8) I pinched from my friend was smooth and delicious, mixed with avocado and dill. The starters were hearty portions too, and as a growing girl, I wasn’t complaining.
As a lover of all things spicy and doughy, I went for the Diavola (£10), topped with mozzarella, spicy salami and fresh chillies. Although the chefs could have been a bit more generous with their toppings and the base was thinner than I prefer, it was nonetheless flavoursome and was really brought to life with their punchy chilli oil. To accompany the meal we shared a bottle of the house wine, Vermentino Seleme (£21), which was a dry, crisp white with fruity tones.
My guest went for the Malloreddus Alla Campidanese (12.50), which consisted of traditional Sardinian pasta, tomato sauce, saffron, sausages and pecorino. Courtesy of another cheeky mouthful, I found the dish warming and really hearty, exploding with great flavours thanks to the stunning tomato sauce.
Though reasonably full at this stage, there’s always room for dessert in my eyes. We went for the Cannolo Siciliano (£5.50), which was a heavenly creation of tube-shaped crisp pastry filled with creamy ricotta and just the right amount of fruit and pistachio to give the dish a balanced sweet edge. My eyes were immediately drawn to the Angioletti Alla Nutella (£4.50), a delectable plate of sweet deep-fried sourdough balls with generous lashings of Nutella. The sour bread, sugar and hazelnut-chocolate combination balanced perfectly and thankfully lingered for a while on our palates. I was verging on a Vicar of Dibley Brussel sprout moment, shovelling them in.
The choice of where to eat on Kingsland Road, let alone London, can be somewhat overwhelming at times. But if you want to enjoy delectable Italian food in a relaxed setting that could easily be mistaken for a friend's kitchen, then skip out the madness of the road ahead and mosey on down to Amici Miei.