On Duke of York Square, close to the Saatchi Gallery and the shopping heaven of King’s Road, the terrace of Manicomio Chelsea is a perfect place for dining during the summer.
The weather’s quite chilly, so blazing patio heaters and beautiful jazz melodies are warming the guests.
Manicomio is located in the converted barracks that once housed The Royal Military Asylum and often slightly barmy Chelsea pensioners. Hence the name – Manicomio means madhouse in Italian.
We don’t see any pensioners – mad or sane – on the Friday evening of our visit. The place is full of well-groomed and stylish Sloane Rangers and their guests sipping white wine and munching on Italian delicacies.
Trying to blend in with the crowd my two lady friends and I order a bottle of house champagne (£49.50) and starters appropriate for a lean summer diet.
Grilled cuttlefish, black quinoa, broad beans and peas (£9.75) and Wye valley asparagus and truffle burrata (£10.75). They are fresh, light and delicious.
My friend Judita is complaining about stomach issues, and is not so keen on the sour bubbles, so to cure her ailments we order a shot of Grey Goose vodka (£9.25).
I opt for Tiger prawn and clam risotto for my main course and it’s good, but a bit pricey for £22.50. My fiend is delighted with her choice of Pappardelle with broad beans, nettles, rocket and lemon pasta (£13).
Diana is happy, but not exactly too full after the main dish of Cornish monkfish, barba di frate, broad beans, anchovy and lemon (£26).
The beach and holidays are still ahead for us, so Diana and I share one tiny portion of Italian cheese board (£9.50) for dessert. Judita in the meantime is determined to put an end to her stomach pains and goes for what turns out to be the ‘absolutely fabulous’ glass of grappa (£7.75).
Manicomio Chelsea is ten years old this summer and to celebrate the anniversary, the a la carte menu features ten years of seasonal spring and summer signature dishes from Head Chef Tom Salt.
We have a great time, but decide that beach season or not, a winter menu might sometimes be more suitable for some British summer days.
Read our guide to the best Italian restaurants in London.