As you can see from the drunkenly swaying olive trees, Tooting and Tuscany may start with the same letter, but it’s considerably windier here. Unperturbed by the singular un-mediterraneanness of Mitcham Road, the owners of Limoncello took the plunge, and set up as pizzaria, trattoria, and general disher out of great food and good times in the heart of SW17 a couple of years ago.
The most important aspect of any specialist eatery as far as I’m concerned is a completely insane proprietor. Someone who insists on speaking a combination of his native language and that of his customers’ with no pause for breath to indicate that half way through a sentence you might have to reach desperately around in your brain for the remains of your GCSE language skills in an attempt to follow his train of thought. Someone who rallies the rest of the waiting staff in bawdy renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’ to accompany the arrival of a gigantic ice cream cake decorated with kiwi fruit, to be followed with ice cold glasses of Limoncello out of the restaurant’s deep freeze. Someone who has a range of comedy hats available to be thrust at hapless punters when they least expect it, to be worn for the remainder of the evening to great applause and frivolity.
Happily, as you may have worked out by now, Limoncello’s owner is blessed with all these qualities and probably more, but I haven’t visited often enough to discover the full extent of his powers yet. He is essentially the reason why Limoncello will go from strength to strength, whereas Tooting High Street’s Fiorentina amazes me weekly by its sheer continued existence.
Anyway, back to Limoncello. They have a diverse menu and the food is very good, there’s a nice buzz about the place and they don’t ram people in to the point where it feels uncomfortable when it’s full. Just go forewarned and ready to be entertained.