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Al Boccon Di'vino

Restaurants, Italian Richmond
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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An Richmond Italian with a no-choice, banquet-style menu.

Richmond town centre has more than its fair share of good Italian restaurants: you’ll run out of fingers to count them on within ten minutes of strolling around. But the one the locals like to keep to themselves, the one you simply must try, is Al Boccon di’Vino. You’ll need to book ahead for the no-choice banqueting-style menu, which costs around £60 per person plus wine. Oh, and don’t be late: on our visit a couple turned up half an hour into the evening and were close to being turned away until they agreed to forgo the starters they’d missed.

Sat in a row of brightly lit competitors, Al Boccon’s entrance is easily missed, but a ring on the bell will gain you entry to a cosy room for about forty, the wood-panelled walls lined with wine bottles and eclectic pictures. Manageress Simona confirms what we already know – there is no menu or wine list: ‘Everyone eats together and everyone eats the same thing. Now, red, white or rosé? Don’t worry, they all go with the food’. She’s not wrong. Turns out, the chef-owner is also a wine and food writer for a magazine back home: he clearly knows his stuff.

And so to the procession of food, apparently based on how a Venetian wedding would play out: enjoy the chat, and the wine and the raucous atmosphere, but don’t fall behind. You’ll get ten or eleven offerings: salads, plates of antipasti, polenta, pasta and shellfish, all with a North Italian twist, all of it unfussy but full of flavour. Then, the grand finale: a roast pig, which is paraded through the restaurant, then chopped and served with potatoes. The fruit and mascarpone, coffee, and limoncello to follow are almost an aside, but it’s only then you realise how full you are. In an area full of high-quality rivals it’s a unique experience like this that really stands out from the crowd.

By: Dave Faulkner



Address: 14 Red Lion St
Transport: Tube: Richmond
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £165.
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