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Restaurants, Italian Portobello Road
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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A pizza and pasta joint on the Portobello Road.

The long stretch of Portobello Road feels quite tired nowadays, the occasional hip bar or restaurant jump-starting its heartbeat now and then. Japanese-influenced Ukai, at the Ladbroke Grove end, is such a place, serving great food and drink to dyed-in-the-wool trendy locals and inquisitive tourists. On the back of Ukai’s success, the team have ventured into the Italian market and opened this little number a few doors further down.

At the front, it’s light and airy, with a big window on the world; at the back it’s air-conditioned and dominated by a fair-sized plastic tree. Unfortunately, somewhere, the magic seems to have been lost. Maybe we were expecting too much, given the quality of its sibling, but Artisan really is just a run-of-the-mill pizza and pasta spot, and a few months into launch we were surprised to be told the simple stuff, like bruschetta and parmigiana, were unavailable.

For starters then, we sampled an avocado-infused burrata on top of some tiny crispy pasta. Novel and tasty enough, but £10? Meh. Pasta main courses were no more generous, but were fresh enough. A starter of wood-fired garlic bread pizza was dry and flavourless; larger pizzas can be as wild as prawn and pesto, but our ham and mushroom was all we needed to know not to expect anything ground-breaking from this place. There are better places to eat in these parts, and if you’re not specifically after pizza, then Ukai is a much better shout.

By: Dave Faulkner



Address: 222 Portobello Road
W11 1LJ
Transport: Tube: Ladbroke Grove
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £45
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