Overflowing bruschetta

Tom finds fragrant food at Fiddies

I don’t need much persuading to dive into a bowl of gnocchi, devour some sea bass, or demolish considerably more pizza than is really necessary, so I was all too pleased to join Jonathan on a visit to Finchley Road’s Italian relative newcomer, Fiddie’s. Having heard impressive claims from locals, we were curious to find out whether the food could reveal the same good-time vibes as the cheery, colourful furnishings, and ubiquitous film-star prints on the wall..

Starting with some decent bread, oil and vinegar already mixed, and an enjoyable overflowing bruschetta, we browsed an appealing menu full of my favourite types of things (as I write this, I’m busy scoffing spaghetti with an overdose of garlic, plus olives, tomato sauce and salted anchovies..) – and ordered a Chianti. Fiddie himself [we have no clue if that’s his name!] was charismatic, jovial and happy to chat, and with the open kitchen in view I gauged a feeling of pride and confidence in what they were doing (which was to be demonstrated rather forcefully later…!)

Overflowing bruschetta

Overflowing bruschetta

I certainly enjoyed my sea bream en-papillote (or whatever you call it in Italian) – the outer wrapping of foil was peeled-back at the table (as should always be the case, of course), revealing lightly cooked, fragrant fish, which was accompanied suitably by a side of vegetables that were perfect; broccoli, mange-tout and roast potatoes clearly prepared by a chef who understands the importance of such things. My side salad was fresh, though perhaps a little more variety would have been nice – I always like a little raw onion…

Sea bream en papillotte

Sea bream en papillotte

Jonathan, eyebrows raised in appreciation, seemed very impressed with his oxtail in a rich tomato sauce (no company should be allowed to use that term on a tin of beans), but wondered whether his rigatoni was perhaps just the wrong side of al-dente. Upon hearing of this, an amusing scene ensued (not quite Faulty Towers, but still comical) whereby Fiddie brought out a side-plate taster of pasta from chef, with the idea (presumably) being to demonstrate that it was done exactly the same every time – to perfection! Jonathan maintained that some of the pasta had indeed been slightly undercooked, but I quite liked the self-belief and conviction chef had in his cooking.

I noted several vibrant-looking plates arriving at other tables; everything appearing colourful and inviting. The menu has plenty for vegetarians, too, with a broad range of pizza and pasta dishes. The restaurant was busy, with plenty of atmosphere; it seems this little place has caught-on quickly.

One can never have too many Italian eateries in the neighbourhood, and I’m looking forward to returning to Fiddie’s soon. As the old saying goes… if a diner’s tired of Italian food… that diner’s clearly tired of life.

  • G&C

    Yaaaaay So happy you enjoyed it! We loooooove Fiddies!
    As italians we are very happy with the pasta that is for us the perfect al dente, but can understand they might need to ask customers if they want it “Al dente” or a little more cooked as some U.K. customers have been eating it more soft in many italian restaurants that decided to go with the flow in the years here. Chef is Italian, very nice and capable man 🙂

    • Tom Vanheems

      Thanks for your recommendation – glad we got along there in the end! Always room for new Italian eateries in the neighbourhood, especially no-nonsense ones like this.

  • MrFrisbee

    Tried it the other night for the first time and concur with the above. Better than expected in some ways. Good value too. BTW, I believe Fiddie’s first name is actually Neo and his middle name is Fiddie (I also think he may be Greek/Cypriot) but still comes across as an authentic Italian!

    • Tom Vanheems

      Glad you enjoyed it, and yes I agree it’s good value. We also mused that Fiddie resembles Super Mario (a little bit), but I refrained from mentioning it in the review as I didn’t want to get a life ban from the restaurant! 😀