Fiddie’s Italian Kitchen boasts a loyal local following
Perfect for pizzas, pasta, classic Italian dishes – and exceptionally friendly service
21 September, 2018 — By Tom Moggach
Fiddie’s Italian Kitchen take their pizzas seriously
IF you run a small restaurant, the power and influence of TripAdvisor always preys on your mind.
It was a hot topic for Michele, the charming young Sicilian who manages Fiddie’s Italian Kitchen in Finchley Road. He’d just read about The Shed at Dulwich, a fictitious restaurant whose “owner” exposed frailties in the TripAdvisor system for online reviews. Using fake reviews and sham food photos, created with props such as shaving foam, he coaxed The Shed to number one in the rankings – much to the embarrassment of TripAdvisor.
To be fair to the website, their algorithms are not designed to cope with the rare phenomenon of mythical restaurants.
Fiddie’s, in contrast, is genuine bricks-and-mortar and boasts a loyal local following. It has earned over 1,000 TripAdvisor reviews and proudly displays it’s “five-bubble” certificate behind the counter.
It’s a tiny place, with around 30 seats, and an unlovely view of the snarling traffic in Finchley Road. The menu is a mix of pizzas, pastas and classic Italian dishes such as chicken parmigiana or seafood fritto misto.
The décor is basic: laminated tables, framed pictures of Venetian canals and Italian starlets. But the welcome is wonderfully warm.
Fiddie’s does not aspire to be a destination restaurant. This is an unpretentious neighbourhood eatery – the kind of place you pop out to when the fridge is empty. We turned up before 6pm on a weekday and it was packed an hour later.
We ordered a medley of dishes to put the chefs through their paces. They take their pizza seriously, proving the dough over 48 hours and preferring the “lievito madre” system of mixing in a handful of yesterday’s dough for a natural rise.
Diners match the sauce to the pasta, choosing from shapes such as fettucine, linguini or gluten-free penne.
Our meal was enjoyable. Starters include minestrone, steamed octopus, calamari and pan-fried mushrooms.
My friend and I crunched into chunks of deep-fried goat’s cheese served with a sticky fruit jam.
A tuna salad with red onion, boiled egg and shredded iceberg was generous in size, although the dressing lacked a feisty kick.
We made quick work of a pair of decent pizzas; her son ploughed through a vast tangle of spaghetti Bolognese.
Next time, I intend to sample more of the pastas and risottos. There are more than 30 options for sauces. I’ve got my eye on the risotto with spicy sausage, saffron and parmesan.
To be honest, it’s not the food that’s memorable at Fiddie’s – more the exceptionally friendly service. Eating here is cosy and relaxing, like popping round to an old friend’s house for dinner.
I wouldn’t recommend Fiddie’s for a special trip. But if you’re nearby, perhaps shopping or visiting the O2 Centre or Hampstead Theatre, it’s a handy place to have up your sleeve.
Fiddie’s currently ranks 42nd of 18,777 restaurants in London. Given its humble nature, this is a remarkable feat.
Fiddie’s Italian Kitchen
13 New College Parade,
Finchley Road, NW3
020 7586 5050