Another Italian restaurant review you say, well there's never such thing as too much Italian food. On top of Indian and Chinese, Italian cuisine must make up for at least half of what we choose to eat here in Britain when dining out. Most of the time when us British want hearty, well priced food and a good bottle of vino, it's at the top of our list - well at least mine anyway. When i heard that a new authentic Tuscan restaurant had just opened up in Fulham, i couldn't resist yet another excuse to eat out, and without letting standards slip - drink far too much wine.
I know very little about Osteria 164, other than the fact that they try to source most of their produce from Tuscany to bring us Londoners a true taste of what this beautiful region has to offer. That said, our antipasti for two didn't quite have the impact we were expecting. Maybe I'm greedy but for two people, it really wasn't substantial enough. Parma ham was of a good quality but didn't have any age and/or flavour. Salami and porchetta were nice example but again, not the best we've had in London. Olives though and the garlic laden bruschette were excellent. I'd strongly advise exploring the other choices of starters, or at least ordering two of these platters.
When we moved on to the main courses, things changed for the unexpected. Without over exaggerating, or getting too excited - i was all of a sudden eating one of the best pasta dishes I've had in a very long time. If there were one creation that really got my taste buds excited, it was any dish with butter and sage. Here we had well cooked tortellini filled with a rich and herby wild boar stuffing, and a sage, butter and Parmesan sauce. It was so well cooked, with the balance of sage and butter so perfect there wasn't any doubt that the chef here knows exactly what he is doing. There was a lot of Parmesan too which is exactly how i like it - and even the quality of that was excellent.
The pizza here at Osteria 164 reminded me so much of the kind i had at this lovely little restaurant back in Bologna i fell in love with. Excellent pizza dough, with a lovely charred base, full of flavour and all important crunch. The pepperoni was also of good quality and the tomato base sauce had obviously been slowly simmering away as there was barely a trace of tart sourness or thinness to it. A lovely pizza which at £8.40, left me feeling as if i robbed the place. My kitchen barely squeezes in a conventional oven, so my dreams for an Italian wood fired one are going to have to wait, along with that Canadian hot tub in front of the TV.
Tiramisu was a fine example, certainly not the best I've have, but definitely one to satisfy even the most disconcerting of Italian foodophiles. This one here was really enough for two people but is meant to feed one. Thick cream, a nice well soaked sponge and just the right amount of coffee. Cocoa powder was very enthusiastic, with enough to really hit the back of your throat and leave you coughing and breathing it over dining companions. Bare this in mind if you're sitting in the strangely furnished courtyard because on a windy day, you'll leave everyone dining here - blind.
Near blindness aside, Osteria 164 is a great addition to the bleak, Wandsworth Bridge Road, which quite frankly has a reputation of bad restaurants, upcycling furniture shops and some truly awful bars. Perhaps give the antipasti a miss, and only venture in to the courtyard if you don't mind sitting next to the a children's play den because for as lacking in atmosphere this restaurant may be (at the moment), the pasta and pizza are so delicious that once you start eating, it doesn't really matter.