Don Luigi Pizzeria, Streatham… much loved dishes with added Italian flair – South London News

Brunch has become a bit samey.

Well, that was until Don Luigi in Streatham picked up the much-loved dish, tossed it in the air, added some Italian flair, and presented a range of dishes the likes of which South London has not seen before.

One month in and Alessio, Maria and the team at Don Luigi are killing it during Sunday brunch.

This restaurant has heart and soul and its presence bellies a place that’s mightier than its actual size.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to count only 20 covers, but the joy and laughter from the kitchen makes it feel like a bigger operation altogether.

When I heard the kitchen was mixing the menu up, keeping a few favourites from the original one but rolling out brunch between noon and 3pm, I must confess I was a little surprised.

Don Luigi Aperol. 1Pictures: Don Luigi

Don Luigi’s winning formula as one of the local Italian maestros is the stuff of Streatham legend.

Could its pasta and pizza specialities really be improved upon? I remained unconvinced until the first plate made its way out of the kitchen.

My little family represents three very different palates, and the four-year-old was first up with Eggs Royale – but not quite as we’dxperienced it before.

House-made focaccia was the main protagonist, admirably accompanied by scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and real hollandaise sauce.

I accentuate that it was made half an hour prior to our arrival, as I’m still recovering from the poor imitation I was served a month ago.

This lazy version had more recently seen the inside of a bottle than it had an egg.

Don Luigi’s version was luxurious, bright yellow and thickly beaten, with fresh chives studding the waves like jewels.

Best of all, it was served on the side, a safe bet given the intricacies of small people’s palates.

The dish was immediately deconstructed and both salmon and eggs were quickly demolished, with just a small amount of the focaccia used to mop up the egg.

Don Luigi 2Don Luigi 2Pictures: Don Luigi

I left my comfort zone with the reader in mind and was immediately drawn to Pancetta Benedict, two poached eggs on focaccia, smothered with ‘nduja hollandaise.

A self-confessed hollandaise avoider, the inclusion of the Italian sausage paste, added a piquant quality, lifting what can sometimes be a claggy sauce, to delicate heights, in texture terms.

We were off to a good start and it would be appear saved the best for last – my husband’s look rather pleased with himself as his eye’s gaze met the corner of the plate.

Pork Shoulder and Caramelised Onions won’t win any awards for description, but it’s one hell of a dish.

Slow-cooked meat pulled apart at the slightest dig of a the fork, falling neatly on to the wood-fired focaccia, thick enough to capture the juices and hold two poached eggs.

Sweet onions made for the perfect accompaniment, the whole plate brought together with smoked Parmigiano and garlic fondue.

Three words aptly describe this: luscious, comforting and plentiful.

There’s even a take on Florentine, using Cavolo Nero instead of spinach. Cavolo Nero & Pumpkin open focaccia looked rather nice, consumed at the table next to us.

All brunch dishes cost between £12 and £13, with giant buttermilk pancakes coming in at £8. Choice of toppings include Nutella and fresh fruit or crispy pancetta and Maple syrup.

Those ready for an aperitivo may prefer small plates to share.

Fried calamari and prawns, served with basil mayo, butternut squash arancini, and polenta, Gorgonzola and walnut dip got my vote, just by sight.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s two for one on Aperol Spritz and all other aperitivo each Sunday from noon until 3pm?

Don Luigi Pizzeria, 17, 21 Sternhold Ave, London SW2 4PA



Picture: Don Luigi

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