Francesco Mazzei has now opened Radici, an authentic Italian trattoria in Islington, the area of London he has made his home. Radici translates as ‘roots’, and reflects the Calabrian and southern Italian cuisine of Francesco’s heritage, all served in a relaxed environment alongside a carefully selected list of southern Italian wines, and a concise list of cocktails from resident mixologist Simone Caporale.
Whilst guests peruse the ever-evolving, seasonal menus, they can sample cicchetti and antipasti including Calamari fritti; Italian salumi and cheese; and Roast octopus with cannellini beans. To follow, Francesco’s favourite pasta dishes from his homeland are represented with options such as Spaghetti with anchovies and broccoletti and Conchiglioni with ricotta and herbs. Secondi celebrate traditional Calabrian dishes such as Umido di baccala (salt cod with potatoes, tomato sauce, onions, capers and black olives); and Involtino di fegato (calf liver stuffed with pancetta, garlic and sage, served with smoked potato mash). Furthermore, a striking wood-fired oven takes centre stage in the kitchen, allowing guests to sample fresh pizzas such as the Calabrese with ‘nduja and chilli, and the Siciliana with aubergine and smoked ricotta.
Also inspired by the rustic style of southern Italy, a bar with counter seating takes pride of the place along one side of the restaurant, serving a bespoke list of cocktails created by the renowned Italian mixologist Simone Caporale. Amongst these are the Radici Aperitivo, a distinctive blend of marsala, prosecco, bergamot and orange; the Pears in Sicily with Sicilian almond, Il Pirus Nonino Williams, and fresh citrus; and, designed in honour of Francesco, the Negroni del Mazzei with Tanqueray Gin, Rosolio, Cocchi Americano and three olives.
The laid-back, modern interiors of Radici have been created by David d’Almada of Sagrada studios, with the rustic design perfectly evocative of the sunbaked, rugged landscapes of Francesco’s native Calabria. Clean organic shapes, natural colours, and the iconic Italian tuff stone fill the space, while hints of blue in the furniture and crockery run throughout. This understated design works to enhance the relaxed atmosphere and versatility of the space at Radici, with the main restaurant and bar leading down to a Wine Room and private dining room, and out to an al fresco terrace on Almeida Street.
Speaking of the opening, Francesco Mazzei comments: “With Radici, I am so excited to bring the food of my childhood to my London home. I have lived in Islington for over 20 years, and I hope that this relaxed neighbourhood restaurant will soon become a part of the local community and a go-to venue for authentic southern Italian food in London”.