Review: Noci, Richmond

Review: Noci, Richmond

By Helen Down

Having already conquered Islington, Shoreditch and Battersea, Noci – the new modern Italian chain – has chosen Richmond as the next lucky recipient of its perfectly poised pasta.

After a most hospitable welcome entailing a suitably bitter negroni alongside a summery grapefruit and elderflower spritz, our meal began as any self-respecting Italian dining experience should: emerald green Nocellara olives with fluffy focaccia for dunking in grassy olive oil. Props to the intense wedge of roasted garlic cocooned in each soft pillow of bread.

Next up, vitello tonnato – atom-thin slices of veal with creamy tuna sauce and crispy capers for saltiness. Better still, the Castelfranco radicchio, courgette, lemon, mint and anchovy salad. Zesty to the point of spicy, how can something so light have such a big bite? Mind-blowing. More please.

Secondi came in the form of brown butter cacio, a perfectly emulsified peppery sauce that seduced us with its simplicity. The ragu is worth having for the visual feast alone. One of Noci’s uber friendly waiters will swing by to create a frill of monk’s head cheese shavings. Made by a hand-turned blade, the resulting creamy carnation was almost too beautiful to eat. But for me the runaway dish was the porcini and shimeji tagliatelle: a rich earthy sauce, cut through with baby balsamic onions for pops of Sciliian sweet and sour and balanced out with restrained dollops of marscapone.

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Bellies heavy with pasta, it took some persuasion to brave pudding. But we instinctively knew Noci’s desserts would be worth it. So we squeezed in a refreshing, light citrus yoghurt dessert called lemon burdina, and a definitely-not-quite-as-light coffee cheesecake with – wait for it – tequila. I’m still mystified as to how wince-worthy booze works so well in a cheesecake, but it does.

With TW10 already packing a smorgasbord of decent restaurants, I was sceptical when Noci’s press release claimed Richmond was about to get a new favourite local. But perfect pasta, combined with diner-friendly details like serving wine in 500ml carafes, makes feasting at Noci a well-honed yet laid back experience. So now I’ll have to eat my words. I just hope they come with a second helping of radicchio salad.


Noci Richmond:

15 – 17 Hill Rise, Richmond, TW10 6UQ

Approx £35 per head + drinks + service

Lunch menu, £15 for 2 courses and drink. Mon to Fri, 12pm to 3pm.