January 29, 2012

Wildwood Restaurant

During my five months in London, I ate at Wildwood a total of four times.  That's a lot for me, considering I'm an avid trier of new places (and not a victim creature of the "same-place, same-dish"routine - ahem).  But sometimes when you find a reliable place, it's worth every re-visit.  After two lunches and two dinners on four separate occasions, I can honestly say Wildwood holds a special place in my heart.

photo courtesy of london-eating

I first discovered Wildwood by happenstance.  The couscous restaurant that we wanted to try was closed so in our somber moods, we wandered around South Kensington until we came across this corner place.  "Soups, Sandwiches, Pizzas." "Okay."  When we walked into the restaurant, we were greeted by large vases full of olive oils and a faint warm scent of garlic and rosemary.  Instant like!  Needless to say, the meal that followed was delicious.

Fittingly, I returned to Wildwood for one of my last meals in London.  This time, my company included some members of the "London Crew" (endearingly dubbed the "LC") and our beloved mum, KH.  Amidst sweet reminiscing, laughing, and plenty of win(n)ing, we buried our heads in the following:

Peri-Peri Chicken Penne - spicy chicken, spinach, and cherry tomatoes, tossed in a creme sauce

Spaghetti with Tiger Prawns - cherry tomatoes, scallions, and chilis in a creamy white wine sauce

Seafood Risotto - calamari, salmon, and prawns with chili and white wine

Spicy Sausage & Goat Cheese Pizza

Courgette & Spinach Rigatoni - crispy slices of courgette (zucchini), spinach, chilis, tossed with parmesan and toasted pine nuts
And last, but certainly not least,*

Baked Chicken Pasta - tomato sauce, creme fraiche, scallion, topped with mozzarella and prosciutto

So good.

*The Baked Chicken Pasta deserves a few more lines of praise in this entry.  Other than the creme fraiche, there's nothing spectacular about the ingredients in this seemingly simple dish.  At first bite, there is no immediate explosion of flavors in your mouth.  No instant food-gasm.  No dramatic pause or clenching of one's arm in a very un-British "OMG" moment.  But after that initial taste, the truth begins to sink in; individually, the ingredients are solid, but together, they speak a whole different and beautiful language.  I tried to re-create this (check out my next entry), but my hot, cheesy mess couldn't even compare to Wildwood's nostalgia-stirring goodness.  All this to say, my friend who accompanied me on my first trip here ordered this entree twice -- once after appetizers and once in lieu of dessert.  Maybe he's cray-cray, or maybe this baked chicky-chicky pa-pa is really that good.  Get your food rakes ready.

Another thing worth noting, but not pictured here are the appetizers.  While I'm sure all of them are delicious, you must, must try the Garlic & Rosemary bread and the Mozzarella Garlic Bread with Caramelized Onions.  Must.

Wildwood, I hope to see you again.  'Til then, be well and keep SoKen alive.

Wildwood on Urbanspoon

cuisine: American/ Italian
location(s): South Kensington + 9 other locations around London
nearest Tube station: Gloucester Road (Piccadilly line)
website: { WW | yelp }
attire: Casual
notes: Great for a power lunch or a casual dinner.

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