Highgate Road trattoria Rossella is a true Kentish Town institution. It’s survived where so many others have sadly gone – and long been a locals’ secret, with its easygoing southern Italian cooking headed up by charismatic owner Luca Meola.
Two years ago, to celebrate a decade of serving the area, it doubled in size, with a much larger dining room and new all-day deli and cafe (scroll down for a potted history of Rossella).
The candlelit dining room, with its rich green tiled walls and elegant marble and wood tables, offers a rather glam neighbourhood night out, perfect for the festive season. And, you never know, it might even be mild enough to start the evening with an aperitivo on the pavement terrace.
But the big news is that owner Luca and the team have just launched their exciting Christmas menus, as well as a selection of seasonal hampers. “These did really well last year,” he says, with a smile. “What’s unique about our hampers is many have our family farm produce in – such as olive oil, wine and cello.”
But more of that later (see below). Let’s start with a look at the Christmas menu, reasonably priced at two courses for £28, three for £35.
There’s “something for everyone”, Luca says, from classic fritto misto with king prawns, wild cod and calamari to porchetta, a stuffed and rolled pork belly which has been a Rossella family recipe for generations, with, he adds, “a secret ingredient to make the crackling extra crispy.”
1. ROSSELLA: SET FESTIVE MENUS
STARTERS Fritto Misto, king prawns, calamari, cod & zucchini with aioli for dipping. Polpette al Pomodoro, traditional Neapolitan beef meatballs served in a classic tomato sauce topped with parmesan, basil and chilli. Burrata with Parma Ham, creamy burrata served alongside seasonal vine tomatoes and Parma ham, Italy’s most famous prosciutto. Arancini Pistacchio & Pancetta, fried rice balls filled with pistachio, pancetta and mozzarella served with creamy sauce for dipping. Bruschetta di Pomodoro, chopped fresh tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze, served on homemade bread.
MAINS Porchetta, rolled pork belly stuffed with fennel, rosemary, sage and orange zest. A traditional dish in Italy, it’s slow-roasted for extra crispy skin and served with sautéed potatoes, green beans and red wine sauce. Ravioloni Ricotta & Truffle, fresh ravioloni filled with ricotta and fresh black truffle in a mushroom, parmesan, cream and white wine sauce. Branzino al Limone, sea bass fillet with baby prawns in garlic butter, lemon and white wine sauce, alongside sautéed potatoes and vegetables. Crayfish & Prawn, fresh tortelloni filled with crayfish, prawns, ricotta and mascarpone in a light seafood bisque with a touch of tomato. Risotto ai Funghi, slow-cooked Arborio rice with wild mushrooms, truffle oil, white wine, parmesan, onion and garlic. (Vegan upon request).
DESSERTS Homemade Tiramisu with Tia Maria, Amaretto & a scoop of vanilla gelato. Vegan Dark Chocolate Brownie with a scoop of chocolate sorbet. Gelato & Sorbet, a choice of 2 scoops from our selection of real Italian gelatos and sorbets.
Mouth watering yet? Book here to try the awesome festive menu. Or read more about it and Rossella here.
2. EXCLUSIVE FESTIVE HAMPERS
Luca is especially excited about his luxury Italian hampers. “They’re packed with authentic Italian produce from antipasti to prosecco, so they’re perfect as a treat whether it’s for yourself or someone special. All hampers are packed in our beautiful Rossella jute bags but a handmade wicker basket upgrade is available.” From the choice of 23 hampers, including one for gourmets, an ultimate hamper and a winter treats hamper, here are four you might like:
Season Greetings Hamper (£55). Celebrate the holidays the Italian way with a traditional pesto sauce made with basil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese and a classic tomato and basil sauce both from Accademia Toscana, renowned for their sauces made with excellent quality ingredients. Accompany your meal with some handmade sesame grissini by Seggiano and discover conchiglie pasta by Antico Pastificio Umbro. For something sweet, tuck into Traditional Milanese Panettone.
Festive Gift Hamper (£125, pictured below). You’ll fall in love with the exquisite tins by Leone, filled with delightful chocolate tartufi, which possess both velvety softness and crumbly crunchiness. The classic Pandoro by Vergani will enchant the palate as well as your eyes, with its fun and Christmassy wrapping and its light and soft taste, while the Panforte will captivate you with its decadent flavour of spices and candied citrus fruits. And if that isn’t enough, lose yourself in the mouth-watering Baci Perugina and the Sicilian chocolate torrone. But the real star is, as always, the Meloncello from our Rossella Collection. Made following the family recipe and only using cantaloupe melons, which are naturally sweeter, there is no better way to celebrate that with a cold shot of this sweet nectar.
A Chocoholic Christmas Hamper (£75). Bask in this fine selection of packed joy, from the great chocolate panettone by Vergani, which uses only the best sourced highest quality ingredients, to the extravagantly spiced chocolate panforte produced by a family bakery in Siena. Have a taste of the artisanal soft chocolate nougat by Condorelli, produced by the family with a recipe passed down since 1933 and indulge yourself in delightful mini cannolis filled with rich hazelnut cream. For the last bite, of course a little Baci, with its rich chocolate coating and the crunchy hazelnut, wrapped in the unique love note. What does yours say?
Ultimate Christmas Hamper (£190, pictured above). To start your celebration, find some of our favourite meats and cheeses, paired with crunchy rosemary flatbread and subtly sweet but incredibly tasty fig chutney. As a main dish, what’s more Italian than pasta? Enjoy then Harlequin’s durum wheat penne with a rich and flavoursome amatriciana sauce or with a delicate and delicious ricotta sauce by Perche’ ci Credo, producer of fresh farmhouse sauces packed in lovely beer bottles. Satisfy your sweet tooth with this fine selection, from nougat to cannoli and from pandoro to panettone, before ending the meal on a sweet note with our famous Limoncello. To help you throughout the meal, relish in the Aglianico from our sunny family vineyard in Benevento or in our Rossella Collection’s Prosecco, from a little town in Veneto. You can’t go wrong when there’s a little something for everyone.
A traditional trattoria in the truest sense, Rossella is inspired by the family’s Neapolitan origins – and the original restaurant they had of the same name back in 1960. It was Luigi Meola, Luca’s father, who brought his love for Italian food here after moving from Benevento, near Naples, in 1978. He also called his first restaurant in Ilford Rossella in 1985 (no longer there), but for the last thirty years or so, he’s owned Luigi’s, a popular neighbourhood trattoria. After a professional chef diploma at Westminster, Kingsway College, and stint at The Orrery in Marylebone, the opportunity arose for son Luca to take over the Highgate Road unit in 2011. “I was only 19 at the time, but to carry on the family’s legacy was everything.” To celebrate its first decade – at the toughest time ever for hospitality in 2021 – the venue doubled in size with all-day deli, cafe and store. Read more about Rossella’s history here.
Rossella is open from 830am until 1030pm daily (from 11am Saturday, closed on Sundays) at 103 Highgate Rd, London NW5 1TR. Follow @rossellanw5 and find out more about the Christmas hampers or festive set menus via the website here.
This is a sponsored post in association with Rossella. If you are a local or London-wide business who would like to speak directly to thousands of readers, please email: email@example.com
The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.
We and our partners do the following data processing: personalised ads and content, ad and content measurement, audience insights, store and/or access information on a device
Advertisement cookies are used to provide visitors with relevant ads and marketing campaigns. These cookies track visitors across websites and collect information to provide customized ads.
AppNexus sets the anj cookie that contains data stating whether a cookie ID is synced with partners.
1 year 24 days
Google DoubleClick IDE cookies are used to store information about how the user uses the website to present them with relevant ads and according to the user profile.
The test_cookie is set by doubleclick.net and is used to determine if the user's browser supports cookies.
The uuid2 cookie is set by AppNexus and records information that helps in differentiating between devices and browsers. This information is used to pick out ads delivered by the platform and assess the ad performance and its attribute payment.
5 months 27 days
A cookie set by YouTube to measure bandwidth that determines whether the user gets the new or old player interface.
YSC cookie is set by Youtube and is used to track the views of embedded videos on Youtube pages.
1 year 24 days
Google Ads Service uses this cookie to collect information about from multiple websites for retargeting ads.
Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc.
YouTube sets this cookie via embedded youtube-videos and registers anonymous statistical data.
1 year 1 month 4 days
Vimeo installs this cookie to collect tracking information by setting a unique ID to embed videos to the website.
1 year 1 month 4 days
The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognize unique visitors.
Google Analytics sets this cookie to store a unique user ID.
Installed by Google Analytics, _gid cookie stores information on how visitors use a website, while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.
1 year 24 days
The __gads cookie, set by Google, is stored under DoubleClick domain and tracks the number of times users see an advert, measures the success of the campaign and calculates its revenue. This cookie can only be read from the domain they are set on and will not track any data while browsing through other sites.