Just over twenty years ago, we used to spend most weekends with friends in a restaurant called Nino’s in Upminster. Whenever I had a sleepover with school friends I’d send Dad down to Nino’s to pick up a stack of pizzas and some zucchini; we never ordered from fast food chains. If it was my birthday, I’d want to eat at Nino’s and I can’t remember how many I did end up celebrating there.
My heart broke a little when it shut down.
Fast forward to February 2019 and Nino is back!
He’s moved home to 53 Butts Green Lane in Hornchurch and opened Osteria da Nino, which much to my delight is a mere five minutes walk from our flat. Sorry bank balance! There’s ample parking out front on the main road in the bays and all around the side roads, but they are residential so please park respectfully!
Since opening, I’ve popped down a few times and have left so happily full that I’ve slept well after. The portion sizes are so generous but this doesn’t mean the quality is compromised at all.
I often find when you get a large meal in front you, that it’s normally pretty average food. There is nothing average about the food that Nino puts in front of you. The meats and fish used is nothing short of top quality.
One thing I do love about Nino and his way of doing things is that he’s so very traditional. His cooking is so traditionally Italian. The decor of the restaurant could be from the streets of Italy. And his approach to marketing is just so traditional.
Nino is filling seats just by word of mouth. He doesn’t have a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, an Instagram feed or even a website. Yet the restaurant is getting booking after booking and in this day and age, I feel this speaks volumes. With the food being some of the best I’ve eaten in a long time it’s hardly surprising.
The menu boasts a selection of pasta, meat dishes and oodles of fish. Everything we’ve tried, and between Mike, my family and friends we’ve probably tried most of the menu, has been filled with flavour. Whether it was mushroom pasta, veal with plenty of veggies and potatoes or spicy chicken wings as a starter, we’ve not had one bad thing to say about any of it.
I really can’t put into words just how good the food is, and how it totally lives up to how great I remember Nino’s cooking. It’s often such a disappointment going back somewhere after years to find out you’d hyped it up in your head and leave disappointed.
This really wasn’t the case at Osteria da Nino. It exceeded those fond memories of mine and has given me a place to create so many more with every visit and every new dish we try.
We’ve got a good few bookings in the diary to keep returning as there’s nothing in the local area that can even begin to compete. With the value for money, the impeccable service and just proper home cooked Italian food, I’m sure we’re not the only ones doing so.
To book call Nino on 01708 478727