There are waves crashing against the rocks, soft sand on the feet and the suns warm rays shining down from the sky warming the shells and pebbles scattered along the shoreline. As far as the eyes can see there are men, women and children hunting out the best spots to lay themselves down and relax but looking similar to the seagulls circling overheard for their chance to swoop in and claim their prize. For this is the beach and its enjoyment, at least in the UK, is somewhat limited to a couple of months in the year when the rain eases off and the sun decides to grace us with its presence.
By the end of October many are craving a bit of sunshine, warmth and actual real daylight. People are trawling through holiday brochures and websites just browsing and dreaming of going to some faraway land where they can whip out those garish swimming trunks and bikinis once more, read a book that we’d otherwise never pick up and sip cocktails at lunchtime without feeling guilty.
But now Londoners can pretend to take themselves to the beach all year around with the opening of Spiaggia (which is the italian word for beach) just a short five to ten minute walk from Fulham Broadway station in zone three. Of course, as a recommendation, you should therefore check out the Chelsea FC fixtures before you visit otherwise your journey home may take a little longer than you were expecting (unless you’re a Chelsea fan and then you could pop in here to celebrate/commiserate the game).
On approaching the restaurant you encounter the brightness immediately as the bright sign of Spiaggia is squiggled above the glass windows that cover the whole of the front of the restaurant allowing for people to look inside and out. The door itself sports, perhaps an unusual choice for a restaurant, a shiny silver door handle that would be more commonly found inside somebodies house. Perhaps an attempt to seal the heat in and the cold out and add to a homely and comforting feel. And that door was certainly needed as sitting fairly near to the door on a cold night meant that the chill really did try to squeeze through the door and the large panes of glass. In fact, perhaps, they were going for the evening wind skipping over the beach kind of chill that means people have to sit close, put their jacket on and put warm food in their stomach to remove the shivers.
The restaurant officially opens tonight (24/10/2014) for the public to get their mouths around some tasty grub and sip away at some superb drink. Members of the press were invited to the restaurant last night for canapes and cocktails where on arrival a sense of confusion quickly involved. Names of guests that had replied to their invite weren’t on the list at the door and what was actually happening was not wholly explained. Were people supposed to go and get drinks and food from the bar, what was the policy and would any additional information be provided, nobody knew. Initial organisation and clarity was certainly not provided.
Awkwardly people decided to sit down and do some exploring. Arrays of colours and chairs were scattered around the place. Some represented directors chairs that would fit in much more at a restaurant located within a cinema. The booths were lined with high backed, striped and colourful fabrics reminding visitors of a very fitting beach towel. Walls were full of bright and lively colours, bringing vibrancy and life to the cosy sized top deck of the restaurant.
As more people arrived a structure emerged. Drinks were available at the table or at the bar ranging from wine, prosecco and cocktails. All very fresh and clearly of good quality, it filled the palette with an array of fruit, bubbles, sweetness and acidity that doesn’t leave the feeling of onset indigestion that often hits people when plied with bubbly substances. Canapes slowly started to circulate the room from crunchy bruschetta, aubergine lasagne, fried seafood, tuna and orange spoons, chicken croquettes, meatballs and the long list continues. All moist, full of flavour and generally not too oily coated in cooking products. I could certainly sit down and eat the lightly cooked, succulent tuna with a thin slice of zesty, juicy and bright orange all day long.
The food was delicious and the drinks were good. The staff were attentive and friendly but the upstairs of the restaurant really was a little chilly. The music at times overwhelmed discussion as people all around had to increase their volume to be heard by friends but of course this might not occur on a normal restaurant evening. One of the chefs seemed to be walking around from time to time but he seemed to focus on a very specific group of people for most of the time making it impossible to talk to him and find out a little more.
Overall a good evening with a good vibe. I feel that the beach vibe could have come across a little more, although the bamboo sunscreens being used on the ceiling and staff wearing coloured sun visors helped bring a little more to the place. I would certainly recommend going along for good food, but not necessarily the vibe itself.