A visit to Nona on Fairhazel Gardens seemed a decent idea, as it meant stopping off for drinks beforehand at The Arches, the most charming bar in the area and a venue of even more stature and importance since the closure of the much-missed La Brocca. And so, after a really excellent glass of Sauvignon Blanc, on to the restaurant…
To start, chargrilled sardines, which I could happily eat as a main, in large quantities; these were a pleasure to devour. A little baked mushroom dish also appeared, the mushrooms filled with ricotta and spinach, with a cream sauce – quite rich for a first course, and satisfying. Nothing high-brow, but piping hot and well seasoned.
For a main course, as I was dining with a vegetarian, I decided I’d join in the fun (?) and try something veggie myself. This wasn’t too difficult a decision once I noticed a salad of chargrilled aubergines and roasted tomatoes with feta. The dish worked well because the salad element featured plenty of coleslaw, which added substance and a crunch factor. The aubergines were perhaps a little firm (also noted in the risotto) but I guess that was due to grilling rather than frying.
Across the table, risotto alla caponata (more aubergine, garlic, feta and tomato sauce) was also enthusiastically received, and sides of sautéed potatoes and ciabatta (oddly spelled incorrectly on the bill!) provided further carb relief. Nona’s menu is appetising, with a great deal of variety even down to the side dishes, which causes chaos for greedy types like me who generally want to eat everything. In both choice, and value, it’s along similar lines to the equally appealing and ever-popular Little Bay (side note: extremely sad to see the Farringdon branch of LB closed).
For inexplicable reasons, we didn’t drink Italian wines, instead opting for a French Pinot Noir at £25 then a Rioja at £5.85 a glass; both enjoyable, the latter the better one.
This is a fun, upbeat restaurant serving gratifying plates of straightforward food at very fair prices, perhaps meaning one can pop back into The Arches afterwards and browse its wine list. Or, as we did, finish up with a drink directly outside Nona, in this very likeable, leafy little location. No room for puds on this occasion, but the website sagely advises that “saving room for dessert is an extremely wise move” – so good reason to return soon.