Ardiciocca – An Entirely Gluten Free Trattoria in the Heart of Fulham
October 12, 2018
Ardiciocca, or ‘Artichoke’ in Genoese, is a gluten-free restaurant in the heart of Fulham, occupying the former Hangar SW6 steak joint where I used to enjoy many a Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
Now, to a carnivorous foodie who can and will eat absolutely anything that’s put in front of me, gluten-free food has never really been of interest or importance to me. But increasingly in my circle of friends, I’ve noticed that when we go to ‘normal’ restaurants, there’s only a few dishes on the menu that my more choosy friends can actually eat. In this day and age, it’s much easier to identify food intolerances, stomach conditions and IBS, yet there aren’t that many restaurants who don’t cater for it. Many a time, I’ve been digging into a mountain of pasta drenched in sauce, while my gluten-free friend stabs another bland leaf of their salad as they look longingly across the table! For that reason, I’m ever so happy that Ardicioccia has plonked itself in the middle of my neighbourhood, offering tasty, authentic, Italian dishes which EVERYONE can enjoy.
Ardiccioccia’s rustic, cosy, minimal design is both cool and comfortable. The modern design incorporates quirky fixtures and fittings, but essentially gives the vibe of an oversized Italian farm house kitchen. The mantra of Roberto Costa and his chef Matteo Riganelli is simple. Ardicioccia’s aim is to offer all the comfort food of a traditional trattoria, but using the finest quality ingredients sourced from artisan producers using naturally gluten free ingredients which are present in the Mediterranean diet. This method, without compromising on flavour, colour or texture is affectionately known as ‘The Costa Method.’
We started with a lovely crisp glass of house Prosecco from Friuli – a good start to any Italian meal, whilst tucking into fresh warm bread – gluten free of course! Somehow, it felt okay to eat twice as much knowing this…
Starters on the menu include Red Pepper with Sweet and Sour Sauce and Anchovies, and Genovese Stuffed Vegetables, but as recommend by our lovely friendly waitress, I decided to go for the Potato and Mussel Croquettes which had plenty of flavour, a melt-in-the-mouth consistency and a good lightly fried breadcrumb. I winced slightly when my friend ordered the Breaded Fried Brains! I mean…?? Not brave enough to try them myself, these nugget shaped delicacies were apparently ‘marshmallow like’ in texture, but tasty, and I was surprised to see him clear the plate!
Eager to try the pasta, but equally intrigued to find out what a gluten-free pizza tastes like, I ordered both! I loved the Little Sardinian gnocchi with sausage ragú. It was full of flavour despite obviously not containing any of the above – the sauce was rich and plentiful and the gnocci, beautifully al dente was no different to any other gnoccis I’ve tried in terms of flavour. The pizza however, was seriously impressive. I’m a huge pizza lover and I also hate a thick, stodgy base, so I was overjoyed when the classic Pizza Napoli arrived – a crisp, thin base laden with ripe tomato. With the dough containing cereal and grain flours which are naturally free from gluten with no additives, I actually personally preferred this pizza to the usual. Beautifully light and extremely tasty, we polished this off in minutes.
Too full for dessert, although Ardicoccia do offer up some really nice choices including a chocolate torte and an ice cream with cream, I felt fully satisfied after my meal, and dare I say it, a little lighter for not being laden down by gluten and additives.
Ardiciocca (artichoke in Genoese-Italian), is a truly charming SW6 eaterie which I’m sure any gluten intolerant will find as delicious as someone who can eat everything!
Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Ashleigh Whitfield