Posted on Monday, 27th February 2017
Bella Cosa is an Italian restaurant located within a few minutes walk of South Quays DLR station, close to the heart of Canary Wharf. It’s an elegant venue, split over two floors, with the first floor offering a fine dining service, and the ground floor reserved for a more casual Italian experience of antipastas, cold cuts and pastas.
Japanese born Executive Chef Kentaro Torii graduated from culinary school in Tokyo after which he made a move to Italy to follow his passion of Italian cookery. Chef Kentaro has also worked at various Michelin restaurants including Bvlgari il Ristorante in Tokyo, Els Casals in Barcelona and Keisuke Matsushima in Nice. And so it is the combination of his roots, his Italian cookery training and his grounding in fine dining that defines the elegant ‘Italian with a Japanese twist’ menu at Bella Cosa.
I attended a bloggers’ dinner at Bella Cosa recently and we were firstly treated to some excellent canapes including some delightfully fine and crispy black ink chips filled with mascarpone and salmon roe which offered an interesting contrast in flavours. Also very tasty was the cannoli with ricotta, walnut and beetroot powder, with the cheese pairing well with the nuttiness of the walnut.
The amuse bouche was cooked scallop, with cannellini puree, truffle, lardo and olive oil powder. The scallop had been beautifully cooked and contrasted well with the creaminess of the puree and the fattiness of the lardo.
“Sea carpaccio” with thinly sliced cured seafood, oscietra caviar and lemon puree was the highlight dish of the evening. There was a perfect balance between the composition of seafood used which included tuna, octopus, langoustine and prawns. Each element was fresh and complemented the other seafood components beautifully. The use of citrus in the dish was well judged, and the addition of caviar added liveliness to the dish. The carpaccio was also beautifully presented and Japanese in its inspiration with its clean, sleek, yet vibrant look.
The fish course was a Dover sole with cauliflower puree, winter vegetables and bergamot coulis. The sole was nicely cooked with moist flesh and crispy skin, and the selection of winter vegetables had bite to them. It was a light dish and skilfully prepared. However it was a little dry on the palate and needed a sauce to bring it together. Also the cauliflower puree was rather fishy and quite unpleasant to eat.
The meat course was double cooked San Daniele pork belly with root vegetables and apple. The pork was lovely – very nicely cooked, very moist and nicely fatty. The delicate sweetness and ever so slightly tart apple contrasted well with the fattiness of the pork. Again the root vegetables were tasty, and to complete the dish was a rich, well-reduced jus bursting with flavour. This was a very well executed dish, if a little uninteresting overall.
The dessert was a delicious looking white chocolate, strawberry and green tea. I didn’t try the dessert but the consensus around the table was that this was delicious.
Wine pairings for the evening included Rosamaro Brut ( Negromaro 100% ), Altemura, Puglia, Pecorino Bio ( Pecorino 100%), Abruzzo, Alberto Tiberio, Verdicchio dei Casteli diJesi, Classico Superiore (Verdicchio 100%), Marche, Marchetti and Merlot (Merlot 100%), Friuli, Colutta. But the highlight, for those of us who stayed a bit later on, was an artisan limoncello called Staibano was delightfully creamy and light, and just fabulous to drink.
Overall, the food was very good at Bella Cosa. I loved the carpaccio and also particularly enjoyed the canapes and the scallop amuse bouche, but less so the Dover sole. There’s no doubt that Kentaro Torii is one skilful chef. The restaurant also looked lovely. Perhaps the less favourable aspect of Bella Cosa was the location, which near South Quays DLR station, wasn’t the most convenient to get to.
The service was pleasant, but at times I felt the wait staff didn’t understand what I was asking for.
Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
Prices: £35 to £55 a for three courses, excluding drinks and service.