Restaurant review: Figo, Brentwood

PUBLISHED: 14:51 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:41 01 December 2020

Figo restaurant in Brentwood. Picture: Stephanie Mackentyre

Figo restaurant in Brentwood. Picture: Stephanie Mackentyre

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Essex Life visits Brentwood’s newest Italian restaurant

Figo restaurant in Brentwood. Picture: Stephanie MackentyreFigo restaurant in Brentwood. Picture: Stephanie Mackentyre

New to Brentwood in September, this family-run Italian restaurant aims to bring an authentic taste of Italy to the High Street. There is a sister restaurant in Westfield Shopping Centre at Stratford and there are plans to launch a third site in Loughton.

There’s no parking on site but a car park behind the High Street in Chatham Way [£1 per hour] meant we could walk through a short alleyway back to the restaurant in no time at all. The calming interior, a mixture of deep emerald green walls with black ceilings softened by amber lighting, meant I found myself instantly starting to unwind.

There’s a mixture of traditional pasta and pizza on the menu but also steaks and fish, and you can choose salads and sides to add to your order. With a glass of their rather excellent Inzolia, Meridia, Terre Siciliane IGT in hand we shared a bowl of green olives while trying to decide from tempting dishes on offer.

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As for the food, for the true traditionalists there’s tagliatelle al ragu di vitello - a home-made egg pasta with a rich white veal ragu. On the other hand, you could opt for one of the three fish dishes on the menu, maybe their ippoglosso alla messinese – Halibut steak with datterini tomatoes, capers, black olives with garlic and chilli. 

For me, it was their pappardelle zucchine e gamberi which caught my eye. Home-made egg pasta served with creamy courgettes velouté, king prawns and cherry tomatoes. The pasta combined with the velouté was so good you could have eaten it without anything else.

For my companion it was risotto frutti di mare, arborio rice serviced with mixed seafood; mussels, squid and prawns served also with cherry tomatoes. Our waiter suggested we added a side of caprese to our mains, yellow, red and green Heritage tomatoes with mini pillows of Buffalo mozzarella and strands of fresh basil, plus a really good olive oil.

The explosion of flavours from the first bite was all it took to seduce us. Plentiful portions left us satisfied but with just enough room for dessert.

There’s a galley-style kitchen which runs along most of one side of the restaurant so there’s plenty going on to create atmosphere and that is helped by the gentle strains of Italian music playing overhead.

All of the food is cooked freshly to order, so when I ordered one of the tortino al cioccolato (hot chocolate desserts), I was told there would be a 20-minute wait. It was worth it. Light sponge pudding with rich, dark, molten chocolate sauce oozing out once you cut into it. Tricky to get just right it was in fact perfetto. My guest enjoyed a slice of strawberry cheesecake and finished off with a cappuccino.

The staff, despite the current restrictions, were helpful and friendly throughout and nothing was too much trouble. If your heart is yearning for a taste of Italia, then Figo is certainly one to visit.

Useful to know

The total bill came to £89.33 for two courses with drinks and coffee. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and wine editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed. Book your table here

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Three more places to indulge your passion for Italian

Vita Bella: Award-winning with first-class service inside and out, Vita Bella is welcoming and friendly with a menu to suit all tastes. Dress code is smart casual as is the restaurant style. The Tye, East Hanningfield, Chelmsford CM3 8AF; 01245 400 204

Cucina: Very popular in Leigh on Sea, especially with families, Cucina is open for Christmas Day dining if you fancy a break from the norm. 63 Broadway W, Leigh on Sea, Southend on Sea SS9 2BX; 01702 478590

Lucca Enoteca: With a roaring pizza oven in the centre of this oak-beamed and bare brick restaurant, there’s a choice of wood-fired pizzas and classic pasta dishes to warm your soul. 39-43 High Street, Manningtree CO11 1AH; 01206 390044

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