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Today we have a conversation with Tanya Ippolito, who owns the Italian restaurant San Pietro with her husband Andrea.
How many years have you been here?
About 4 and a half years.
What is the story behind this restaurant?
We’ve got another restaurant in Notting Hill Gate called Portobello Pizzeria. We were looking to open in the Kensington area for quite a while, our other restaurant having opened in 2008, but were struggling to find the right location until we found this place, which we loved. We saw this place was up for sale, and by that time, we had already been looking for a few years.
What made decide to open a restaurant in the first place?
My husband (Andrea Ippolito) was in the restaurant business. He had never owned a restaurant, but he worked in hospitality for about 20 years prior to opening the first restaurant.
What are your culinary influences, are they from a specific part of Italy?
South Italian food and my husband’s mom’s kitchen. Loads of his recipes are his mom’s secret recipes.
Why is the restaurant called San Pietro?
San Pietro is a fish. To be honest with you, we had a customer who used to eat San Pietro fish; it was his favourite fish. He helped us find the restaurant on Stratford Road, and so we decided to name it after him. It was also because we knew it was going to be a seafood restaurant. So we said, “Ok, why not call it San Pietro?”
Could you give us your favourite dish?
The parmigiana. It is very popular. If you try it, you’ll understand why.
Is there a wine from your wine list you would recommend and what dish would you pair it with?
We’ve got the Aglianico. This is, again, from the south of Italy. It is made from 100% Aglianico grapes, and since it’s red wine, it goes well with meat. It pairs really well with either the sausage from our specials or the tagliata, which is a steak. It is a really unusual wine.
What is it you love most about the Kensington neighbourhood?
It’s like a little village, so everyone knows each other. Our customers are mainly locals and regulars, with some tourists. It creates a cosy, strong community feel. Sometimes we have Christmas parties on the street, and everyone contributes. It happens in December, you should come!
Do you know what restaurant it was before you moved to the space?
It was a French restaurant, and it looked completely different. We had to completely refurbish it, which took us almost a year. It has been completely redesigned.
Can people hire it out for events?
We’ve never booked the whole place, but we get quite a lot of parties in the space upstairs.
How would you describe your restaurant in three words?
Authentic, Italian, cosy.