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Villa Blanca - review

Get your grades in the GSRC&B exams here

Written by . Published on August 23rd 2012.

Villa Blanca - review

Conventional wisdom has it that you cannot open a decent restaurant in Hampstead. As you go up the heath, residents lose their gastronomic wit.

Invigilation is scrupulous. Applications by email for an appropriate fee...

Villa3How green is my pasta?

Mrs Hammy is expected to do and of course Mrs Hammy cooks better than everyone else and no one is saying different. In the local rag she can even access former Times cook Francis Bissell for advice. Restaurants go bust or if not then French food equals chains like Cafe Rouge which just goes to re-affirm Mrs Hammy’s status.

The exception to all this is Villa Bianca - get it, white villa - which has actually been going for 30 years which is pretty good going by any London restaurant standards. Gold medal for lengevity.
When I open my Grand School for Restaurant Critics (and Bloggers) GSRC&B for short -  the Villa Bianca is where I will send students for their final exam. Pick the dover sole bones out of this one, chaps.

Villa4Question 1 - what is this?As you may presume it is Italian, although we were offered a Spanish gazpacho to settle in with. The star event is spaghetti with lobster, half £22, whole £41. The swarthy chap at the next table complained it was “very average” although I cannot figure out how a fresh lobster can be average, let alone very average. I think we will fail him in the GSRC&B exams.

In 30 years Italian restaurants have only altered perceptibly in the post Locatelli era (simpler, less flash) and most Italians would probably have the Villa Bianca down as a good restaurant, good linen, grissini on the table, warm breads and olives offered, dishes of the day, a range of pastas, a range of veal. Italians like a bit of expense.

In the same way you cannot really have an average lobster, you probably cannot technically have the best zabaglione in London but they make a good fist of it here all show and done at the table in what used to be called Continental fashion.

Villa5Question 2 - how bad is this?

Is it a good restaurant? Is it a bad restaurant? After 30 years who cares? Criticsm is almost academic. But unlike A levels if you want to earn your GSRC&B grades then the invigilation is scrupulous. Applications by email for an appropriate fee, of course. Mrs Hammy will be signing certificates...

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