“Wildwood”:https://wildwoodrestaurants.co.uk/ is a nationwide chain of Italian restaurants, with a “menu”:https://wildwoodrestaurants.co.uk/menus/starters/all/ similar to Pizza Express, Zizi etc. We visited the branch on “Shaftesbury Avenue”:https://wildwoodrestaurants.co.uk/restaurant/london-shaftesbury-avenue/ after a shopping trip in Covent Garden. In addition to what is a relatively small area on the ground floor, there is a basement, but it’s never been open on our previous lunch time visits and I suspect it’s reserved for weekends.
Having got seated, we quickly realised the waiter was on his own and, although there were only a couple of other tables, he was kept extremely busy particularly when a group of six arrived without a booking and ordered different cocktails which he had to make.
Previously we just accepted the suggestion of garlic bread to share, not realising it was like a whole pizza minus the topping. Rather than feeling like the stuffed Christmas turkey, this time we decided to share Garlic tiger prawns which came in a small dish with garlic, butter, chilli, lemon juice and coriander along with thin slices of toasted sourdough. There were three prawns each which was plenty as the dip was wonderfully pungent and as there was some leftover, I asked to keep it to put on my pizza.
I opted for the picante carne pizza with Milano salami, pepperoni, smoked ham, chorizo, harissa and thyme. The base was crisp and thin, but it lacked the spiciness I hoped for. The other main chosen was a baked spaghetti carbonara with the addition of chorizo which, from the little taste I was allowed, was rich and creamy.
Wine is extremely well priced, particularly bearing in mind the central London location. The white wine list starts with the house Trebbiano for £15.95 a bottle and goes up to £27.95 for Pouilly-Fume. Neither our first choice of Picpoul de Pinet or second choice of Sauvignon Blanc were available, with the waiter telling us that stocks were often depleted after the weekend (we visited on a Monday). However, we were perfectly happy with our Pinot Grigio at £21.05.
The loos, down a rather steep flight of stairs, have walls adorned with yellowing old copies of The stage newspaper and other theatre memorabilia, presumably reflecting the theatre land location.
A service charge of 10% was automatically added to our bill which came in just under £60.