PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
From the outside Buon Ricordo looks like most of Paddington; neat, charming and elegant. But as soon as you step over the threshold you are transported into an Italian house. Brick floors, traditional wooden chairs, white-set tables, a fireplace, the familiar manner of the staff and the scents coming from the kitchen tell you so. This is part of the beauty of this celebrated restaurant – it delivers on the promise of inspired, heart-on-the-sleeve cuisine with none of the bravado that might be expected from a restaurant of its calibre (and with two chefs' hats for three years running we can agree it has plenty of calibre).
Upstairs is a dining area that has a slightly more formal bent. This is partially because it is where the restaurant's impressive wine cellar is housed – a tempting companion to a night spent feasting on Italian dishes – and partially because it serves as a part-time gallery. Over its 23-year history Buon Ricardo has amassed lots of art (including a painting by the late Fred Cress) which hangs – and stands – proudly around the area. No matter how wonderful, however, the art is likely to lose the fight for your attention when the fare comes from chef Armando Percuoco's kitchen. On a menu that is sensitive to seasons and produce, you'll find northern Italian inspired "primi" like fettuccine al tartufovo ( fettuccine with cream and parmesan, topped with a fried truffle egg and tossed at the table) and "secondi" like the ever-popular T-bone (Italian style, of course) and braciolette Reginaldo (a dish of crumbed veal rolled with spinach, nutmeg and parmesan that was named after a customer).