This restaurant always has a special place in my heart as I’m a lover of Italian food & wine. I’m also now very pleased to say that after today’s visit nothing has changed in fact to be honest they’ve only enhanced my passion for Italian even more. We arrived on saturday just a day after the latest government announcement which really is hurting the hospitality industry. Yet this this did nothing to effect the fabulous welcome we received from Laura and the team. We sanitised our hands immediately then after a quick chat were escorted to our table. As you looked around you could see the majority of the tables were couples but in all they were quite busy especially when you consider what’s just been announced it was good to see.
Our lunch started with a nice touch from Laura as we were given a complimentary glass of champagne to start us off which we enjoyed along with a fantastic selection of snacks. During this time we also had a look at the menu where you had the choice of A la Carte which you could turn into your own Tasting Menu or the Lunch Menu. We opted to create a five course tasting menu and chose differently so that we could enjoy as many dishes as possible. Once the decision on the food was made it was time to meet head sommelier Ali who it was a real pleasure to talk to throughout our lunch. After a little chat to find out what style of wine we each liked and therefore what would be best to take us through the menu she came up with a fabulous recommendation. The Villa Malacari 2015 Rosso Conero was an absolute delight with amazing fruit flavours of berries and cherries along with a touch of earthiness proved to be a winner all round and luckily for us had only just gone on the wine list.
Villa Malacari 2015 Rosso Conero
Now it was time for our first courses where my wife chose the Beef Carpaccio with blackcurrant & smoked onion that was absolutely delicious. I opted for the Burrata with fig , basil & smoked almond which was heavenly and definitely the best burrata dish I’ve ever had.
Before we moved onto our second course there was a lovely surprise from Head Chef Em who sent us a little extra dish for us to try. This was the Scallop Tartare with buttermilk , radish & bergamot that with a mixture of creaminess of the buttermilk along with the crunch of the radish made this dish amazing. Now we could move on to our next course. My wife went for her favourite Gnocchi which on this occasion came with parmesan & autumn truffle and you could see by the look on her face how good it was. Myself though was not jealous in anyway because the Oxtail Tortellini with cavolo nero & celeriac was simply stunning and a real flavour sensation.
Next to arrive were two dishes from the fish section in the form of the Cod with mussel tempura & curried saffron veloute and my favourite fish the Halibut with brown butter , taramasalata & cucumber. Both choices were perfect and a great way to lighten your palate after the richness from the previous course.
Now it was time for the main course and we were definitely in for a real treat again as we chose the Rare Breed Pork with mostarda & seasonal brassicas that was delicious. Our other choice was the Jacobs Ladder with watercress salsa verde & pomme anna that was worthy of being a main course anywhere.
We then decided to have a cheese course to share which consisted of five cheeses , jelly , chutney , bread & crackers and obviously a glass of port. So now it was time to finish with dessert where we were both delighted to see our favourite things on the menu. My wife loves Carrot Cake which came with walnut & spiced mascarpone sorbet and was delicious. I was extremely happy to see Apple Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream on the menu which was definitely one of the best ever. This was paired with a Distillerie du Gorvello a cider brandy that matched the tarte tatin perfectly so congrats to sommelier Ali on another fabulous pairing.
Apple Tarte Tatin
Distillerie du Gorvello
We then finished with coffee and petit fours but not before we received a visit to our table from head chef Em who we finally had the pleasure of meeting. It was at this point we could personally tell her that the food was absolutely amazing and was without doubt our best visit yet. We also discussed the current situation but you could see just like everyone else in the industry that they will continue to do all they can to make your dining experience as memorable as possible.
This brought to and end a fantastic Italian lunch where the food was amazing. This was matched by some fabulous wine selections from sommelier Ali. The service led by Laura and the team was excellent as every member of staff was so friendly and professional. I really would highly recommend a visit here and even more so now in the tough times the industry is facing. I will definitely be back early in the new year to enjoy another fabulous dining experience.
Thank You Laura , Em , Ali and all the team for a memorable lunch and look forward to seeing you all again soon. Angela Hartnett should be proud of you all.