Anima e Cuore – Kentish Town, London

Can you book? Yes (via their Facebook page)
Food: 9/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Price paid per person: £27

It was a cold December’s night. Being a little tardy for my friends, I scurried along Kentish Town Road looking for Anime e Cuore, what i imagined to be a busy and alluring Italian restaurant. Something seemed off when I found it; the door sign said closed, all I could see through the window was ice-cream and there were no people in sight. Confident I was at the right address though, I went inside and low and behold, there was a tiny restaurant hiding at the back.

Of the six or seven tables ours was the only one occupied. It was fully booked though (we were there relatively early in the evening and the closed door sign was to prevent any passers by from coming in only to be rejected). There was no music, no menus, no art, with the exception of this charming depiction of the journey of Italian cuisine from Italy to London on the wall:

italy london

After a short while a friendly Italian man with a strong accent came to the table with a notebook. He explained that there was no menu because the food is dependent on what fresh ingredients they get that day. He then read out the options, of which there were approximately five starters and mains. This did present a slight issue in that it’s quite difficult to remember what is on offer and what everything comes with (especially for those with allergies and other such dietary requirements). However our waiter was kind enough to repeat things where necessary so we got there in the end.

To start I had sea bream in a fairly thick and hearty parsnip veloute which was really lovely and very interesting. My group also had burrata with aubergine dip and a savoury muffin (there may well be a more exotic Italian name which I forget) with cheese ice cream. I really liked both, and have never tried anything similar.

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I then had veal with tuna (in a pate-like form), served with a rocket and parmesan salad and green beans. I was forewarned that the veal would be served lukewarm; “good to know” I said. Who knew that veal and tuna were a perfect pair. Well now I do, because the whole dish was fantastic. My friends had pasta, one with ox cheek and the other with wild mushrooms, which again were great. All pasta is made from scratch on site.

tuna

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It would have been difficult to turn down dessert after such successful starters and mains so we shared a lemon tart, gluten free chocolate cake and cheesecake. I found the cheesecake disappointing as it was slightly lacking in heart and soul (being the English translation of the restaurant’s name). The other two were excellent though, so much so that even as a lemon tart disapprover I absolutely loved it.

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For these culinary delights we paid £27 each, without wine (it’s BYOB). I think it was certainly worth it, and the unassuming atmosphere/appearance on entrance only adds to the unique dining experience.

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