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Negozio Classica (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Negozio Classica in Swiss Cottage & Primrose Hill, London

154 Regent's Park Road, Swiss Cottage & Primrose Hill, London, NW1 8XN
Cuisine: Italian
Tel: 020 7483 4492 | Email to Negozio Classica | Transport: Chalk Farm | Write review

Negozio Classica Review

Best for: romantic, intimate meals.
 
Great: wines and antipasti.
 
"When a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford". Never have truer words been spoken (thanks Samuel Johnson). London is a microcosm of the world at large. The Russian Oligarchs have invaded Chelsea, the Middle Eastern Sheiks have overtaken Knightsbridge, and the Notting Hill set is running parliament. But what of Primrose Hill?
 
I read with interest “Camden house prices double in decade thanks to Primrose Hill set”. Embarrassed to say, being a long time Londoner, I’ve never actually been to Primrose Hill. What is the attraction for the likes of Kate Moss, Rachel Weisz, Harry Styles, Jude Law and Ed Milliband?
 
Sometimes it just takes one tube stop to transport you to a different world. Primrose Hill is a residential spot for top media bosses and celebrities; a place where walking pace is slower, where chats are conducted over cups of coffee, and where the supermarket doesn’t look like it’s owned by a multinational conglomerate.
 
Negozio Classica Italian wine bar and restaurant looks like a coffee shop from the outside, with few tables at the front on the pavement.
 
It's a venue designed for comfort with a very friendly atmosphere. Wood mixed with red brick walls give it a warm homely feel. There are two intimate dining rooms; the one upstairs has a glass roof so you can find yourself admiring the stars above, even if you fail to spot any stars below.
 
We sat at the wooden table at the front of the restaurant, taking advantage of the inside warmth and the outside view. We could see endless streams of people coming in, trying to get a table. The Primrose Hill set certainly knows how to enjoy life.
 
A glass of prosecco welcomed us along with their house speciality, antipasti, which included green olives, slices of Parma hams, two types of salami and three types of cheese. The ham and salami were top quality, fresh, natural and accompanied by a freshly baked Italian style baguette that brought a whole new dimension to the phrase “buon appetito”. The urge to move to Primrose Hill began to consume my thoughts, in much the same way as I was voraciously consuming the food.
 
Lovely Mariann, the manager, was an absolute star, impressing with her knowledge of wine and stories about Avignonesi. She suggested matching wines for each course; my favourite being the Chardonnay: dry fruits and oak with a nice smoky flavour and perfectly chilled, far from the one I drink in my local bar.
 
She explained that the restaurant is also a wine shop and that one of the bottles of wine we tried was retailing for three times the value at Harrods. That’s Primrose Hill quality without the inflated Knightsbridge prices.
 
For a wine bar, the choice of main dishes is surprisingly plentiful, from pasta of the day, to slow-cooked pork dishes, to steaks. We shared pasta of the day, which was a tortiglioni, cooked al dente, marinated with herbs and sprinkled with freshly grounded Parmesan. It was lightly seasoned unlike typical pasta dishes which are overpowering with tomato or cream. Much like the crowd I saw at Primrose Hill, it was quietly tasteful without being overly showy or extravagant.
 
Next we shared a portion of tagliata: organic beef fillet. Note the word ‘shared’; this restaurant doesn’t do fancy little West End portions. The beef is matured on the bone for 3 weeks, which gives the meat a distinctive superior flavour. Quality, honesty, taste; I think I would like membership into this Primrose Hill set club.
 
The best way to end an Italian feast is with Italian desserts. I had ricotta cake topped with chocolate and my friend couldn't resist ordering their crème brûlée. Both desserts I’ve had numerous times before, but it’s always an enjoyment when it’s done the authentic way; no gimmicks, just fresh ingredients.
 
The whole experience and atmosphere spoiled us; we found ourselves saying, "I can get used to this" with ease. Quoting one of celebrities who live in the area, Gwen Stefani, Negozio Classica is definitely “The sweet escape”. Now all I need is to save up enough money to pay for a deposit for a flat in leafy Primrose Hill.
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