Review of La Luna di Luca

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to Italian restaurants in the Borough. I have tried many of them and can confidently say that La Luna di Luca is among the best. The concept is simple but one which sadly a lot of restaurants fail to embrace – an emphasis on seasonal food.

La Luna di Luca at its old location in the town centre operated as a continental deli and ran degustation food and wine events. It was relocated to Richmond Hill early in November to a much bigger venue and is now practically a full time restaurant.

The day I visited for lunch, I saw many inquisitive locals stopping by to read the sample menu outside the door. A couple of them even popped in to make enquiries and have a bit of a snoop around. While the La Luna di Luca name is well established, it seems the new venture is yet to be discovered by many of Richmond’s enthusiastic foodies.

The menu, which changes daily, was authentic. It bought back fond memories of the summer I spent working in Italy at a small family run restaurant. For my starter I chose the radicchio, thyme, squash and Taleggio risotto with a parmesan crisp (£14) and ordered a glass of Trebbiano (£6). The usually bitter radicchio was soft and mellow.  It was folded perfectly through the pleasantly cheesy tower of risotto. The squash was full of flavour and the parmesan crisp, propped up on the peak, was simply delicious. It was the perfect way to warm up on a chilly autumn day.

On to my main which was the grilled sea bass stuffed with gremolata, served with samphire and fennel (£18). I paired it with a glass of Montepulciano (£6). I love to order a whole fish; I just enjoy the theatre of it. This one was amazingly fresh (straight from the Cornish coast) and flavoursome. The caramelized fennel was transformed from something often overpowering (when raw), to a subtle and elegant accompaniment. It was the first time I had tried samphire, I definitely enjoyed it so it won’t be the last.

Despite feeling content I just had to complete this wonderful experience with something sweet. I chose the dark chocolate truffle cake with crumbled amaretti (£5). It was exquisite. The chocolate was rich yet not overwhelming. The biscotto was pleasantly crunchy and balanced the smoothness of the cake well.

Between courses I had the pleasure of meeting Martina the owner. Originally from Sardinia, she spoke about the Island, the people and the specialties of the region. She is passionate about bringing Sardinian inspired recipes to the menu and works closely with her suppliers to only ever use fresh and seasonal food. Her aim is to create authentic dishes that are still affordable so her customers can dine there regularly.

It won’t take long for La Luna di Luca to build a reputation as a restaurant which serves some of the best food in Richmond. I was told they have already had waiting lists for dinner. This makes the nearby Marlborough Pub a convenient and ideal spot to enjoy a Prosecco ahead of your meal.

I can’t wait to go back, especially on an evening when they are serving the Sardinian fish stew, flavoured with the spices of southern Sardinia. Or perhaps for Sunday lunch, just so I can order the suckling pig. This is Italian food at its best.

Overall 8/10

Reservations – yes
On line booking – yes
Mailing list – yes
Wi-Fi – yes
Monday: closed
Tuesday to Saturday: 12:00-11:00pm
Sunday: 12:00-4:00pm
Check the website for special trading hours over Christmas and New Years
Macchiato – 5 stars and served in a ‘Martina’ cup, £1.50
Toilets –clean, real hand towels, luscious soaps and hand creams
How does La Luna di Luca describe itself? ‘Seasonal, authentic Italian and Sardinian cuisine’.

More details here: La Luna di Luca