Celebrity Editor Angela Sara West @angela_sara_west chats with TV chef Aldo Zilli about the gastronomic Italian delights he’ll be serving up in his luxurious igloos and private VIP dining rooms at his romantic restaurant in Surrey this evening.
Love is not only in the air, but also on the menu at CASA ZILLI tonight. This 5-star rated restaurant, run by award-winning chef and restaurateur Aldo Zilli, is offering the pinnacle of an authentic taste of Italy at his much-loved ‘Neighbourhood Kitchen’, which became famous during the first lockdown when Aldo’s passion for cooking his native Italian cuisine saw him cater for delighted locals. “My wife Nikki and I have been married for almost 20 years,” he tells me. “She’s the boss, basically, and the brains behind the business, 100%. She works hard, and CASA ZILLI came about because of her!”
Actress and former model Nikki starred in the ‘Bond’ film ‘Die Another Day’, and as the world started closing down due to covid, advised her hospitable husband to hand out leaflets through their neighbourhood’s front doors. “And that’s how we started business!” Aldo explains. “People started calling and asking, ‘Are you doing takeaways?” She replied, “Yes! And my husband is cooking.” And so, CASA ZILLI was born… As one of the masters of Italian cuisine, the award-winning chef now boasts a ‘5-star neighbourhood Surrey kitchen’ on his sprawling Surrey estate, currently devotedly decorated and ready to rock for sumptuously-delicious Valentine’s celebrations, for which you’ll find the full mouth-watering menu below.
A Celebrity Masterchef
Aldo was recently appointed brand ambassador for Lucarelli Restaurants, and when he’s not serving up gastronomic Italian delights from his CASA ZILLI home, celebrity chef Aldo can frequently be seen cooking up a storm on our screens…
His extensive TV credits include being a judge on ‘Celebrity Masterchef’ on BBC One, and he has also signed up as a contestant in major reality shows, once captivating the nation with his singing prowess and performances in the celebrity version of ‘The X Factor’ alongside three fellow famous chefs – Jean-Christophe Novelli, Paul Rankin and the now sadly-late Ross Burden. “I named the Band Bake That!” says Aldo.
As we chat about his ever-evolving restaurant, he fills me in on how he offered restaurant-quality meals to his local neighbourhood during lockdown. ”The locals couldn’t believe their luck!”, he says. “That’s why we’re successful. You’re not gonna get food cooked by a random chef… It’s gonna be cooked by me all the time. That’s what people love…” Aldo’s menus boast a wide range of delectable dishes, available to dine-in or collect from Bletchingley in Surrey. “Or we can deliver here or to surrounding areas – Godstone, Oxted, Nutfield, Outwood, Caterham, Chaldon, Dorking, Reigate, Kingswood, Redhill and Merstham… We even delivered a meal for 20 on Christmas Eve for Christmas Day!”
What’s more, thanks to Aldo’s amazing cuisine, house prices in his area have subsequently surged! “Estate agents have been calling me as they want to sell houses around the area now, and they’re telling people, ‘You’ve got a 5-star restaurant around the corner and the house prices are going up.”
We really are talking authentic Italian food at its very best… Full of flavour and a veritable feast for the eyes, the CASA ZILLI menu caters for all. “We have something for everyone… We also have a vegan menu, gluten-free pasta and cater for children, with their own special menu. Not forgetting our delicious deserts!” Aldo also accommodates exclusive events and celebrations, and his team can create bespoke personalised cakes for your special celebration. The aimable chef even opened up his extensive land to the public during the summer lockdown, offering drive-in outdoor cinema experiences, with his son delivering Aldo’s freshly-cooked pizzas to family’s cars.
Luxury Italian herb candle collection
Aldo and Nikki have also created a smouldering collection of luxury high-fragrance candles and room diffusers, inspired by the family’s love of all things Italian and the herbs in their garden. The CASA ZILLI kitchen candle collection is made using only premium natural ingredients. “We’ve a designed a range of luxury home fragrances, including vegan-scented candles and plant-based room diffusers.
Valentine’s Day on a plate
Last year, Aldo served up a sensational Shellfish Royale, Lobster, Fillet Steak with pink pepper sauce. “And for dessert, I made a strawberry heart and cheesecake mousse.”
What’s on the menu tonight? “This year, we have a similar menu, only this time, people will dine here and eat in our romantic outdoor heated igloos! Our exclusive menu is also available to enjoy in our private VIP dining rooms, and the whole place is decorated with fairy lights, hearts and balloons…”
And that’s not all… there’s also the cosy cabin. “Diners can head there for a drink first. The fire will be lit and there’s a little bar in there. Very romantic. The swimming pool is also open.”
And it’s not just about Valentine’s here at CASSA ZILLI. Aldo’s passion for food is infectious, celebrated with the seasonal menus he designs for which are both special and unique.
“Love is always in your heart,” he says. “Whether it’s a weekend special, a hot new menu or an exciting event, there’s always something new happening at CASA ZILLI!”
Bellini Cocktail, Homemade Focaccia & Olives
Fritto Misto Crispy Fried Calamari & Prawns with Lime & Chilli Dressing
Burratina Pugliese Al Tartufo Burrata Cheese from Puglia with slow cooked Roasted Tomatoes & Truffle Honey (v)
Ravioli Capesante E Gamberetti Homemade Ravioli filled with Scallops & Shrimps in Shellfish Bisque
Tagliolini Di Aldo All’Astice Scozzese Homemade Tagliolini Scottish Lobster in a Creamy Seafood Sauce
Tagliata Di Manzo Alle Erbe Sliced Aged Fillet Steak cooked in Herb Butter with Brandy & Pepper Sauce served with Tender Stem Broccoli & Parmesan Mash
Risotto Al Tartufo (v) Wild Mushroom & Winter Truffle Risotto (v)
Tortino Di Fragola E Formaggio Allo Champagne Strawberry & Champagne Cheesecake
Bigne Ripieni Di Creama Pasticciera All’Amaretto Profiteroles filled with Créme Patisserie served with Chocolate & Amaretto Sauce
Tiramisu Al Marsala Homemade Tiramisu in Marsala Wine
To book a table or find out more, visit casa-zilli.com
Written By: © Angela Sara West 2021| @angela_sara_west