I used to walk past Princi all the time and never paid much attention to it, apart from noticing just how many people there are in the restaurant and before what always caught my eye was the wood stove burning oven, which has since been replaced with a dine in area. I honestly don’t think there is a day where this place isn’t filled with people.
The restaurant was brought to my attention when having a discussion with my friend about where to eat cake in London and she said “You got to visit Princi, they do nice cakes and coffee”.
I never knew this but Princi was brought to London in 2008 by Alan Yau who owns a wide range of restaurants. Princi is a beloved Milanese bakery in Italy, and thanks to Alan Yau since 2008 we are able to share this love in London too.
The restaurant itself is spacious with minimalistic decor, netural stone walls, black marble counters, wooden tables and chairs, giving you the simple and chic feel you get with Alan Yau’s other chains of restaurants. There are two parts to Princi, there is a self service set up, where you tell the staff what food you want and you pay and eat at the communal area. I never tried this concept of dining, as I always found the communal area to be far too busy, crowded, noisy and it feels slightly chaotic. The other way to eat at Princi is the dine in area, where you can sit down and experience a more calmer eating experience. Both times I have opted for the dine in area, I have yet to brave the self service set up.
In the dine in option of Princi, they serve a selection of food, ranging from breakfast type dishes, pasta, pizza, antipasti and salads. I’ve been to Princi twice, both times I have had different meals, but for me their pizza’s are the best. Absolute winner.
My last visit was back in October 2014 with my friends, we went to Princi on Thursday evening for dinner and like many popular restaurants in London, you can not make a reservation in advance. But saying that we didn’t have to wait for long, considering there was 5 of us (odd numbers make it harder to be seated – in my opinion!) we probably was seated within 10-15 minutes which isn’t bad for London on a Thursday (Thursday is the new Friday in London).
The menu is in Italian with English translations at the bottom, but there were some words that we needed to use our iPhone to translate for us.
From the menu I ordered:
Coppa Pizza (Coppa, rocket, cherry tomato and mozzarella) – £11.50
Zucchini Fritte (fried courgette with mint) – £4.00
San Pellegrino Chinotto – £3.50
Pear and Almond Tart with Almond Ice Cream (not on the menu) – £4.50
Let’s start off with drinks, as usually this is something people will order first. I am a fan of the San Pellegrino fizzy drinks range, love their orange, blood orange and lemonade flavours. When I saw this flavour “Chinotto”, I was really intrigued, since I have never heard of this flavour in my life (it should of stayed that way). I did do my research and found out that it was just a type of citrus fruit and I thought the drink can’t be bad. BUT I was wrong, the flavour was just really weird when I took the first sip. To me it was a cross between flat coke and orange mixed together, I really did not like the taste at all. I have since done more research (mainly for this post) and Chinotto is described as a “cult drink” because of its unique taste. It is a small bitter citrus fruit that has a distinctive bittersweet taste. Distinctive taste I give you that.
Now for mains out of all the pizza’s they had on offer I chose the “Coppa”, because it had everything that I liked eating, rocket, cherry tomato and mozzarella. I am not a massive cheese fan as don’t really like the cheese smell or taste and mozzarella fits the bill, since it has no strong cheese smell or taste! For those like me, who do not have a great deal of Italian food knowledge, Coppa is a traditional Italian pork cold cut.
The pizza was amazing, they are all freshly baked and made right in front of you. The base was thin but also had the right amount of crust “puff” (if thats the right way to describe it!) with an even amount of toppings. Everything about it was really nice, I think the ingredients used were perfect and it had the right amount of seasoning. The bonus of it was that you wasn’t left feeling bloated as eating a whole pizza by yourself you sometimes can get that feeling.
To go with the mains, I ordered the Zucchini Fritte. I was a bit surprised with this as in my head I was expecting it to be lightly battered fried courgettes with a mint as a topping, but instead the courgettes wasn’t fried, it was cold and mixed with mint olive oil dressing. At this moment I know it doesn’t exactly sound very appetising, but I can assure you that they are nice and worth trying if you are a zucchini fan!
Last stop dessert. Now Princi doesn’t have a large dessert menu for people that are dining in. However you are able to go to the self service bit and have a look at the cakes/pastries they have on that day and you can tell the waiter which one you want. The dessert I chose was not on the menu, and I chose the Pear and Almond Tart accompanied by the Almond Ice Cream. Oh my no words can explain just how delicious this dessert was. I love almonds, so it probably is a bit biased. But everything about it was perfect. There was the right amount of almond flavour to the ice cream and the tart was on form. I was left wanting seconds. I’m not sure if they have this tart, but you the ice cream is still on the menu.
If you haven’t made a visit to Princi, then you really are missing out. I can’t vouch for the food at the self service but I expect it to be on par with the food at the dine in section and the food there is 10/10.
Must try dishes: Pizza’s and desserts.
Avoid: if they have it on the menu, steer clear from Chinotto.
Have you been to Princi before?