Eats and treats

Four To Eight, Covent Garden

Viewed through its floor to ceiling windows Four to Eight appeared well laid out, simple and clean. Once inside it was warm, comfortably so, and the staff greeted us warmly. In fact the welcome and service from Francesco, Alessandro and Victoria couldn’t be bettered.

Tables surround the edge of the room and in its centre a stylish bar. The restaurant prides itself on its wine. In fact there is a selection of 100 different wines, including 25 sold by the glass – great for couples like us where one likes red the other white! Downstairs there is a slightly smaller, more intimate dining area with a view onto the open kitchen.

Four to Eight is a new contemporary Italian restaurant in Covent Garden, close to Aldwych offering modern and rustic Italian food; the realization of a lifelong ambition by two brothers, Gino and Leo Zambito – born in London of Sicilian parents. Leo was in the restaurant when we were there and was quite happy to take time and come over and chat, telling us about the work involved converting an old building into a contemporary restaurant.

We enjoyed our starters (£6-£10) – small plates of smoked eel, arancini and soft shell crab, but unfortunately had a problem with our main course; both far too salty for us. Veal escalope saltamboca (£20) is a favourite of mine, but the very salty parma ham combined with an over-reduced sauce defeated me, as was my friend with her salt marsh lamb (£14).

Neither of us could finish them much to the concern of the lovely staff. We declined the offer of different dishes and went instead onto our dessert of rum baba, served with a delicious, fresh tasting pineapple carpaccio (£7). A good selection of wine by the glass!

Four to Eight is open Monday to Saturday 11:30am to 10:45pm and its location in Catherine Street and sensible opening hours make it a good choice for a pre-theatre meal. .

Italia Ristorante and Pizzeria – Lyme Regis

Lyme’s latest addition to a long list of good eating places is Italia Ristorante and Pizzeria in Monmouth Street. This small, cosy place is run by Franco and his wife Phaedra and has already got a great reputation for its friendly atmosphere and superb Italian cooking.

Expect to pay about £25 for three courses and wine. The pastas are delicious, the pizzas huge and the fish, as you’d expect from a fishing port, very fresh. It’s wise to book in advance.

There’s a take away service for self -catering visitors. 

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