Published 6 June 2022
by Adam Hyman
Judging by the queues at Heathrow Terminal 5 last Sunday and the roads around Lake Como this past week, travel is most definitely back with a bang.
Yet my past seven days in this beautiful part of northern Italy has left me pondering one of those questions I often find myself asking while in Europe: why was the food on the Continent so average compared to in London?
I spend a lot of time in and around Siena in Tuscany and I’d happily wager a Euro or two that you’d be hard pushed to get a bad meal there. From the upmarket Osteria Le Logge to il Grattacielo for a plate of cold cuts and half a litre of house wine, it’s all rather fabulous.
Perhaps Como has become such a hot tourist area – like Venice – that the trattorias dotted around the lake think they can get away with serving anything? In this day and age it seems like a dated theory but I struggle to find another explanation? Restaurant kitchens still close at 2pm and the whole situation feels a little passé when catering to an international audience.
Back home, I can think of many restaurants that are serving better Italian food than the ones I visited over the past week. Padella, Café Murano, Cecconi’s Mayfair, Bancone and, of course, the River Café spring to mind. Perhaps we’re spoilt and it shows how far our capital city has come on.
The Italians still do a lot of things in life very well – la dolce vita indeed. I just know where I’d go for a vitello tonnato these days and it doesn’t involve getting on a plane.