32 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey, London, TW9 1DN
Reviewed on Sunday 22 March 2009
Pizzeria Rustica in Richmond
The Pizzeria Rustica is located very close to Richmond’s train station and is on The Quadrant busy street, next to a McDonalds. It has a kind of relaxing feeling with all the rustic tables and chairs and the old tools attached to the wall. The tables are close to each other so it is not the place for talking discretely about confidential things unless you happen to work for MI6. We have been there many times there but it is the first time I review it and as you can guess, it is not a bad restaurant as we do not like to hurt ourselves
Of course they have bread & olives (£3.75), Bruschetta (bread topped with tomato, garlic, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil – £4.95) but also interesting starters like Cozze marinara (fresh mussels, garlic, chilli, tomato sauce with crusty bread – £6.35), Scamorzina (smoked mozzarella wrapped in Italian pancetta with rocket and truffle dressing – £6.35), Crostone (melted goat cheese on a crusty bread with sun dried tomato and basil pesto – £5.85) or the Antipasto rustica for two people consisting in plain garlic bread, parma ham, roasted vegetables, buffalo mozzarella, sun dried tomato and olives for £10.95.
They have specialities like the Pollo (chicken breast stuffed with fresh asparagus wrapped in Italian pancetta with white wine sauce and potato mash – £13.50) but we came today for their excellent stone baked pizzas.
The price range is from £7.85 (Margherita with mozzarella, tomato and basil) to £11.50 for their Pizza 2007 (they won the “The best pizza in UK Award 2007” with that one. It is with tomato bruschetta, rocket and parma ham). Other pizzas, beside the classical Napoli, Tonno or Funghi & prosciutto, are the Noci (mozzarella, gorgonzola cheese, walnut & rocket leaves with no tomato sauce), the Fiorentina (mozzarella, tomato, spinach egg, parmesan and garlic), the Rustica (mozzarell tomato, mushrooms, peppers, aubergines, courgettes, garlic & chilli) or the Calzone which is a folded pizza with mozzarella, ham and mushroom topped with tomato sauce.
Any extra topping costs £1.20 excepted for the parma ham, buffalo mozzarella and the king prawns that cost £1.50.
We went for the Calzone and the pizza 2007
Overview of the two pizzas and the small table.
The Calzone was great (even if the best ever calzone I had was in Marseille), with crispy pasta and delicious ham and cheese. Here, it would have been better if the cheese and ham were more mixed together than having a “ham zone” followed by a “cheese zone”. The pizza 2007 was good too, but my preference still goes to the pizza Buffalo (that I usually take), mostly because I love the Buffalo mozzarella. Both of them have the toppings added fresh on a cooked pizza base so the base stays crispy. The spicy oil is not that hot compared to what we can find in some pizzerias in France but it is still spicy.
They have beer, like Bud, Moretti and the excellent Peroni, all for £4.25 and of course wines. I will pass on the white wines choice to focus on the list of red wines: it starts by the Rosso della casa (Puglia) for £13.95 (not a bad wine, a little on the sweet side), Merlot Venezie IGT (Cielo) for £14.50, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo – Feudi D’Albe 2006 for £14.95, Chianti Gentilesco (Tuscany) – Bonacchi 2007 for £15.95 (easy to drink), Nero D’Avola for £15.95, Maestro Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon Venezie IGT for £16.95, Valpolicella Clasico Valverde 2006 for £17.95 and the Amorino Rosso (Colline Pescaresi) – 2005 for £25.95. We chose the Nero D’Avola and it was fine. Dry enough (I do not like sweet wines) and easy to drink.
Cost and conclusion: an excellent lunch for £37.70 (£21.75 for the two pizzas plus £15.95 for the wine) plus tip. This pizzeria is probably the best one I know, and I have been in many pizzerias around the world. The service is very friendly and they are not pushy like in some pizza chains where they insist you take a starter or a dessert. The pizzas at Rustica are big, be sure to be very hungry if you take the starters too.
Richmond is a nice town so after your lunch you can go to Richmond Park to see the deer or you can go on the river side etc