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October, 2021

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For a friend’s BIG Birthday, she chose “Daphne’s”:https://daphnes-restaurant.co.uk/ in South Kensington for a celebratory lunch.

The Italian restaurant is part of the “Caprice Group”:https://caprice-holdings.co.uk/ and was founded in 1964 by theatre agent, Daphne Rye, who apparently and famously discovered Richard Burton.

On arrival coats were taken and we were shown past a long bar with sit up seats into the dining room. At 12.30pm there was only one other table taken – unfortunately by a couple of rather loud men whose conversation we could hear fully despite the fact they were three tables away from us. We were sat in the window at a circular table and could see the outside tables in a pavement area which had obviously been created during the Covid pandemic. This area was incredibly decorated with garlands of

A breadbasket of various types was brought along with a great grassy olive oil for dipping. The cover of the lunch “menu”:https://daphnes-restaurant.co.uk/media/10795/daphnes-menus-lunch.pdf had a wonderful picture of Portofino and the inside was divided into sections: antipasti (a great range of delicious starters ranging from £9.50 to £16.75); primi (five pasta dishes in two sizes); secondi (mains from chicken milanese at £16.50 to Dover sole at £39); and finally, contorni (various sides of vegetables and salads).

We all chose different starters which included tuna tartare and beef carpaccio. My vegetarian melanzane alla parmigiana (baked aubergine, tomato and mozzarella) was absolutely delicious whilst Roy’s fritto misto with deep fried crispy fried squid, prawn, whitebait and courgette was huge and therefore passed around the table for us all to try.
By this stage the restaurant really started to fill and by the time we left, all tables had been taken.

Roy and I both chose the chicken milanese, a crisp flattened chicken breast coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. It was simply served with a rocket and parmesan salad and half a lemon presented in a muslin to gather pips. The lemon really lifted the dish and made a difference. Other choices were linguine with crab and chilli and chargrilled sirloin of beef, again served with parmesan and rocket.

We were all too full for puddings but as I’d told the restaurant about the birthday girl, a plate decorated with happy birthday was brought to the table (fortunately without singing) and a tray of five truffles which we spotted on the separate dessert “menu”:https://daphnes-restaurant.co.uk/media/10797/daphnes-menus-desserts.pdf at £4.50.

Whilst the food was great, the downside was the “wine list”:https://daphnes-restaurant.co.uk/media/10802/wine-list.pdf, or rather the prices on the wine list with the cheapest bottle being £42 and the most expensive £1600.

However, we loved the food and the service from the white jacketed waiters was extremely professional but friendly and unobtrusive.

This is an upmarket restaurant in an upmarket area of London, and this was clearly demonstrated by the number of men in dark jackets.

As well as the main restaurant, there is also a light and airy conservatory at the back.

Helen Jackson

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