I have written before about my problems with Italian restaurants. I cook a lot of Italian food and I have eaten too much excellent Italian food in situ to tolerate crappy imitations. Particularly at London prices. A carbonara with a weird bechamel sauce and soggy pasta for £12.50 makes me want to scream with frustration. (I am a drama queen.)
So it is unlikely that I would have ever wandered into Ristorante Rosella without a personal recommendation. It is a remarkably unprepossessing joint in Kentish Town and I'm now a bit in love with it. From the outside it looks like a sketchy caff and the majority of the menu is priced appropriately for a sketchy caff. Inside it looks like every glorious cliché of a cheap, family run Italian restaurant and there are a handful of specials each day. Pastas and pizzas on the menu are in the £5-7 range and specials around £8-12. I enthusiastically forked out for a special but I'm willing to believe (and I have been told) that the standards meet similar levels of quality.
I ordered the lamb pappardelle and it was excellent. It wasn't fancied up or fiddled with and there were no bells and whistles; it was a good, rich but not overwhelming, lamb ragu and good, fresh pasta. Great fresh pasta actually. I would go as far as to say that this is the best pasta I have eaten in London. Big claim! It was everything that anyone ordering a lamb pappardelle could have wished for. It made me feel like my basic demands for UK Italian restaurants were reasonable and achievable.
I know that it is not the done thing to out an unobtrusive local favourite but low-key, affordable, delicious food is hard to find and I feel obliged to acknowledge that I had a lovely time at Rosella and will certainly be going back for more.