Restaurant review: Fabrizio’s, N19

Jon Dean dines out in true Italian style

�As we marched up a very steep and slightly desolate stretch of Highgate Hill on a chilly winter night I muttered under my breath that this restaurant had better be worth it.

But as we approached Fabrizio and saw its light and warmth spilling out onto the dark pavement, things were already looking up.

Once inside, my mood improved further as I saw waiters dart to and fro between busy tables, from which loud Italian voices could be heard, all of which painted a snug picture.

We managed to squeeze into a table and ordered a bottle of wine. Fabrizio is a rustic place in most senses – a family-run joint with home-cooked food and a relaxed attitude towards service. It’s not somewhere to go if you are in a rush.

The food is worth the wait, though. Our starter of speck and mozzarella brought together delightfully cured meat and creamy cheese in an attractive combination. Also good were the scallops – light, fresh and zesty. Both portions were a healthy size and we welcomed a bit of a breather while waiting for our mains.

Pizza by the metre

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All around us people were eating pizza by the metre, so we thought we had better join in. My girlfriend’s 50cm of pizza Giorgina was an elegant medley of goat’s cheese, Parma ham and rocket leaves with a satisfying, crisp base.

Rumour has it the Giorgina is named after the proprietor of a successful coffee shop in Highgate Village.

Always one to buck the trend, I avoided the posh cheese on toast and went for a nice piece of fish – specifically, a mighty slab of tuna. Cooked medium rare, it was daubed in a full tomato sauce with pesto and black olives and enough depth to tease my palette.

The food at Fabrizio is very good and it speaks volumes about the standard and authenticity of the restaurant that most of the clientele were Italian.

However, so were the staff, and there were a couple of language problems with our order. It must also be said that the food took it’s sweet time coming out.

Still, it is an Italian tradition to take time over your meal and a long, luxurious dinner in this cosy little restaurant makes for an evening well spent.