Last month, La Gaffe in Hampstead threw a very special evening, showing just why we're a fantastic choice for anyone seeking not just delicious Italian food but a special kind of atmosphere. Known, simply, as an "Italian Night" it was a very informal affair, bringing together visitors from Italy and locals from London in a way that let everyone get a taste of our menu and enjoy some great conversation at the same time.
The 16 visitors from Italy all hailed from Abruzzo, the region where Bernardo Stella (the original proprietor) was born. Here in London on a short-trip, they wanted to stay somewhere where they could experience family hospitality. Since La Gaffe has been owned and run by the Stella family (first Bernardo and Androula, and now their son Lorenzo) for over 55 years, it suited them entirely.
After all, we don't just have a wonderful Italian restaurant but we also offer guest accommodation, which means there's just a flight of stairs to climb at the end of the evening (and a continental breakfast, complete with Lorenzo at the cappuccino machine, the next morning!) The evening itself was completely unstructured, with the entire emphasis focused enjoying tasty food and lively conversation.
The La Gaffe team put together a menu, which included imported Italian salamis and cheeses, pan-seared veal in an artichoke and white wine sauce and our classic Italian dessert, tiramisu (sponge fingers and marscapone cheese, soaked in espresso).The rest of the attendees - a mixture of locals and London's curious - weren't disappointed either since, as the evening progressed and the wine began to flow, the tour leader Nikki stood up and began singing old songs (think Mama Corleone at her daughter's wedding, in the Godfather classic and you get a good picture).
Other visitors who showed up had brought instruments, including a guitar and violin, which was incredibly well-received. Getting into the swing of things... Needless to say, the evening was a sellout and continued on late into the evening.
But no-one minded, because such a good time was had. The thing about these evenings is they're a combination of what we can offer, combined what our visitors offer. So whilst we put together the menu and offer the space, the fact is that the atmosphere and conversation are something that are unique to every evening. The wonderful thing about these kinds of evenings, however, is that they are very spontaneous.
We run these evenings from time to time and it's all a question of letting the evening flow. We provide the food and drink, and the atmosphere and entertainment though...well, that's provided by the guests and any instruments they bring along... That's all for now...read us next month when we bring you up to date with what's new at 107 Heath Street, Hampstead...