Villa Di Geggiano Offers A Taste of Tuscan Living In West London
Villa di Geggiano's been about for a while. Five centuries, give or take, with the family pad in Tuscany dating back to 1527.
The London outpost is a newer beast, taking over a spot that's seen a few thoroughly average restaurants come and go over the years. Most recently it's been a Marco Pierre White and Frankie Dettori-owned venture, one that oozed wealth without welcome. In the hands of the Geggiano lot it's something different, strewn with modern art throughout every room. The upper floor is dedicated to smaller, member's club-style lounges, events include frequent artist-led dinners and there's a Steinway in the corner of the dining room that apparently gets tickled regularly by punters from the music studio behind the restaurant. It might not have quite the lineage of the Chianti country estate but it already feels like it's been here years.
In temperament, it's almost exactly half Chiswick, half Tuscany, with decor tied in strongly to the London art world, the terrace hung with a canopy of vines, and the kitchen turning out opulent Italian food. The wine list's peppered with plenty of the Villa's own wines, from their estate in Tuscany, along with some lovingly chosen guest appearances from small, independent producers.
We're prepared for the food to be average, if only because there are so many strings to the Villa di Geggiano bow. They're doing the piano bar, art gallery, vineyard and cigar room sides of the equation with so much dedication it feels more like a members' club and less like a restaurant. Surely it'd be weird to expect much on the food front from this Giacomo of all trades.
We're totally — happily — wrong about that. That's obvious from the moment the burrata arrives. It's a ridiculous thing, creamy even by burrata standards, cool but not stiff, slick with courgette and mint sauce. The pickled mackerel dish is a fish, vegetables, raisins dill and mayo mash-up that doesn't sound like it should exist outside of your nightmares, but has a sharp, surprising edge that actually leaves us regretful when the last raisin-mackerel forkful's polished off.
The duck and mascarpone ravioli in an orange sauce gives the burrata a run for star dish — a gamey punch coming through the warm citrus sweetness and mellowing the pasta into something summery and rich.
The aristocratic feel comes with some aristocratic-level prices — in keeping with the loveliness of the wine list and the ridiculous silkiness of that burrata, but still steep. It's a far cry from the snug, cheap pleasures of pasta restaurants like Padella or In Parma.
On the other hand, it's a lot cheaper than a weekend break in Siena — and we leave Villa di Geggiano's garden with some of the same feeling of summery warmth.
Villa di Geggiano, 66-68 Chiswick High Road, W4 1SY.
Last Updated 10 September 2018