We’ve welcomed many people to our restaurant, wine bar and guest accommodation in the last five decades, and quite a few return time and time again (which we love!) But for those of you that have never been to La Gaffe, we thought we’d take this opportunity to tell you a little about our history and how the Stella family got into this business, in Hampstead, so many years ago.
Back in 1957, Bernardo (one of our co-founders) left Italy in search of pastures green, and found them, firstly in Kent and then in the British capital. Androulla (our other co-founder) had also left her homeland at around the same time, although she had made her journey from Cyprus. Both found work in a busy kitchen in central London, ‘Le Petit Monmartre’ but how could either of them have guessed that a prank would bring them together?
This is what happened. One fated day, the restaurant chef, who felt like a dreary service needed brightening up, took a live lobster and placed it on Androulla’s back! it might have been a joke for him but, not surprisingly, Androulla was terrified and almost fainted. Bernardo, ever the gallant Italian, rushed to her aid with a glass of water and a comforting pat on the shoulder (reserving his ire for the culprit!) The rest, as they say, is history…
Bernardo and Androulla opened La Gaffe in 1962, initially as a bistro serving French classics, such as pate, steak and frites and a classic desert trolley rolled out at the end of the meal, filled with delectable sweet treats. Here’s a great little video, with our two founders…
With simple wooden tables and drinks purchased from the pub next door, the place was soon being talked about. In no time at all, local newspapers and then the London Evening Standard – who had heard about the ‘new kid on the block’ – were showing up to sample the fare and then write reviews (which, needless to say, were all positive!).
La Gaffe’s come a long way since it’s early days in the 1960s, with one of the many changes being that we’re now serving Italian classics, rather than French classics. But that doesn’t mean the food and ambiance isn’t as good as every – when you come for dinner these days, the hearty Minestrone, delicious Spaghetti Bolognese, Rack of Lamb and light and creamy Tiramisu will leave you in no doubt that you’ll be returning.
We’re open every evening for dinner and from Wednesday to Sunday for lunch – and as well as our formal dining area, we have a wine bar which you’re welcome to sit in if you’re looking for a quick bite, a sweet treat or simply a Lavazza coffee or aperitif to make your day that bit more pleasant! So why not come and try us out? Feel free to pop in, make a booking by phone or peruse our menu on our website.