A visit to Ritorno, London’s first authentic aperitivo lounge bar on the King’s Road, Chelsea.
We visited Ritorno amidst the chaos of Storm Doris, I was literally blown into the bar. Ritorno is a glamorous and sophisticated venue so on arrival I felt a bit of a mess, haven’t had my hair nicely styled by Doris…
But the team soon made me feel comfortable and relaxed at the bar with a few bar snacks and a cocktail menu in hand. Ritorno is located at the World’s End part of the King’s Road. Easily accessible, as I found, by bus from Notting Hill/High Street Kensington and a 10-15 minute from Imperial Wharf Overground, Fulham Broadway or West Brompton.
While I waited for Karl – who had got caught up in the Storm Doris madness – I sipped on a Sicilia cocktail (£13.50).
Simone created my cocktail right in front of me and told me all about the menu and the story behind Sicilia. He told me that the Poetic Regional Cocktails list is inspired by poets from all over Italy. The Sicilia cocktail is inspired by Luigi Pirandello who was from Sicily. The cocktail therefore features ingredients from Sicily and ingredients Sicily is most proud of – and this is the same with the other cocktails on the list. I was amazed at how much thought and detail has gone into the list.
The cocktail features Marsala Targa Riserva Florio – a fortified wine from Sicily, Pistachio syrup, Blood orange juice – a blood oranges are grown in Sicily, and egg white. They use Italian ingredients wherever possible and have items shipped over especially. This means that their drinks and dishes feature ingredients which are rare to find in the UK.
When Karl arrived he opted for the winter special cocktail, Snow Kings (£13.50). This cocktail has a White Americano base, Soft hazelnut liqueur foam and served with a smoky flavour from the burnt cinnamonn stick. It is mixed with Mancino Bianco, Bitter Berto, Frangelico Liqueur, egg white. A delicious smokey cocktail – perfect for winter!
The special cocktails change regularly, for example in May they will be serving The Chelsea in Fiore cocktail for the Chelsea Flower Show. This will be available from 23rd May – 4th June 2017 at £14.50.
We decided to stay seated at the bar whilst we sampled some of the dishes. I absolutely adored the glowing bar beneath us. Ritorno is absolutely stunning with such a sleek and opulent design throughout.
The menu matches this luxurious vibe. There’s over 40 small plates on the menu created using the highest quality and freshest produce. With eyes bigger than our bellies, the concept of small plates gave us the opportunity to sample and share a variety of dishes. The menu also lists the dishes with carefully chosen cocktail pairings.
All bread and pastas are made daily in-house with organic, natural flours and even the mozzarella is made using the authentic Italian method but here in the UK to ensure it’s as fresh as possible.
It was a time for a true of taste of Italy…
We recently returned from a short trip to Rome so it was fantastic to be able to experience a true Italian feast right on our doorstep.
First we had the utterly delicious Gnocco Fritto e Culaccia (£5.50). A incredible deep-fried dumpling filled with tasty Culaccia. It was stunning in appearance a well as in taste.
We also shared the LA PARMIGIANA IN CROSTA DI PANE (£8.50) dish – Parmigiana in homemade bread crust. It was so fresh and so tasty and a difficult one to share!
To my delight there was more on the plate that meets the eye with this mozzarella dish. It seemed to be never ending – which was great as well totally fell in love with it! It was so smooth and so creamy – perfection.
(Although, I felt slightly guilty cutting into this and ruining its artistic presentation!)
Our whipped salt cod with fried polenta (£8) dish was exceptional. The cod was so smooth and so delicately whipped. It was light and refreshing, again this was so beautifully presented too. The attention to detail at Ritorno is amazing.
We had a sneak peak at the private dining room downstairs (right next to the wine cellar!!!). The area is perfect for a private dinner party and very reasonably priced from £800. The stylish area can seat up to 12 people.
For a truly opulent and luxurious Italian experience, you have to try Ritorno. The staff, including Simone who made our experience truly enjoyable, are extremely passionate and knowledgable. It was exceptional how much they could tell us about the food and about every story behind each cocktail. This elegant bar and restaurant is a wonderful addition to the King’s Road.
442 King’s Rd
Photography by Karl Cowell