Posts for the 'Italian' Category


Amici Miei

AMICI MIEI

Amici Miei is a casual Italian restaurant on Kingsland Road serving rustic fare such as wood-fired sourdough pizzas and pastas, along with a range of Italian regional dishes. The name, Amici Miei, translates as ‘my friends’, and it is indeed a welcoming spot with its bare brick-work, relaxed ambiance and cozy vibe.

I dined at Amici Miei with Artour from food blog Nifty Noshing and as we both love eating the Asian way which is to order multiple dishes and to share them all. That way, you get to try more and share not just the physical space, but share the enjoyment of the food as well. And the menu at Amici Miei is truly ideal for sharing. Apart from the pizzas and pastas, the comprehensive menu also dishes up a range of cicchetti – Italian tapas and antipastas.

We started with the polpette, meatballs (£5) which came in a faintly garlicky tomato sauce. They were simple and tasted of “homemadeness”. These exuded a rustic quality and were very enjoyable, although no distinct flavours to speak of were discerned.

Amici Miei - London Food Blog - Meatballs

Amici Miei – Meatballs

(Continue reading her story…)


Tags: , , ,



Qvintessenza

QVINTESSENZA

Italian restaurant Qvintessenza set out with great intentions. The site says that the owner, clearly a lover of great wine, wanted to bring the best of Italian produce to his restaurant. And despite an awkward location on noisy Borough High Street in between Elephant and Castle and Borough stations, Qvintessenza is spacious, cosy, with lovely wooden surfaces, and lines and lines of wine bottles.

Italians often joke with seriousness how the magic ingredient in their food is simply love. That certain je ne sais quoi, the careful throwing of great ingredients together, where nothing extra is added other than attentiveness. Provenance means a lot. You need to know the source to guarantee the quality of ingredients when there’s so little to hide behind. So all the more disappointing that the food that followed was not very good.

No, not inedible, but so non-descript and lacking, well, in love, that we couldn’t help but feel this is a place that stopped caring. We know how disheartening it could be for staff to stay motivated when the numbers of punters dwindle (which we sense may be the case at Qvintessenza), but black slates and large square plates can’t prop up the lack of attention.

To kick off we asked for a basket of homemade bread – a joy and pride of Italian restaurants across the globe. Here we got a few small slices of bread at a highly overpriced £3.50. Furthermore, the bread had been shop bought despites claims of being homemade.

Burrata cheese (mozzarella filled with cream) with Parma ham (£12.50) said to be matured for 26 months was just fine, but it was difficult to enjoy to the dish fully without any proper bread to soak up the flavours.

Quintessenza - London Food Blog - Parma ham & burrata cheese

Quintessenza – Parma ham & burrata cheese

(Continue reading her story…)


Tags: , ,



View 94

VIEW 94

View 94, by Head Chef Antonio Sanzone, is a modern European restaurant located in the Riverside Quarter jetty in Wandsworth, and serves as a superb riverside dining location. Previously the Head Chef at Caffe Caldesi, Chef Antonio first started cooking at the age of 13. Learning to cook from his dad who was also a chef, he learnt to draw inspiration from the local Italian produce. With View 94, Chef Antonio has continued to stay close to his Italian roots.

View 94 sits right on the bank of the River Thames, and therefore boasts stunning panoramic views along the river, stretching from Putney Bridge along to Wandsworth Bridge. The restaurant is split over two floors, with the ground floor being a lounge area serving a more casual bar menu, and the first floor being the restaurant proper. The design is modern and pretty minimalist, sparse even. It’s not a place to cosy up on during a dreary winter’s day, but instead would be to perfect place to linger during a spectacular sunny summer’s days. View 94 has a circular shape to it. Therefore you pretty much get good views from wherever you sit, especially as it has high, broad windows. There’s also an outdoor sitting area as well, again perfect for warm sunny days.

We started our lunch with a lovely beef tartare (£8) with cep dust, cured egg yolk and served in a well constructed Reggiano (parmesan) crown. As the waiter explained to us, no salt was used in the preparation of the dish. Instead the cep dust, a much loved Italian ingredient, acted as seasoning. The beef had been finely diced and was flavoursome, and the Reggiano crown added both further flavour and texture. There were also capers running throughout the tartare to provide acidity to this lovely plate of food.

View 94 - London Food Blog - Beef tartare

View 94 – Beef tartare

Homemade smoked salmon (£8) was also very tasty. It had been lightly smoked so that you could still taste the sweet, delicate flavour of the salmon. Alongside the smoked salmon sat some pickled Romanesco and a refreshing salad of fennel and oranges with a chilli dressing.

View 94 - London Food Blog - Smoked salmon

View 94 – Smoked salmon

A main of lobster moka risotto (£22) served with spring onion puree, spicy tomato coulis and finished with shellfish cappuccino was a generous portion. The lobster had been nicely cooked, and sat on a bed of black squid ink risotto. The risotto had a nice flavour running through it, creamy from the squid ink and not too fishy. However I would have preferred less cooking of the risotto so that the rice had more of an al dente bite to it. The spicy coulis was lovely, giving the dish a refreshing element, and the shellfish cappuccino was rich and smooth, providing an added dimension to the dish.

View 94 - London Food Blog - Lobster moka risotto

View 94 – Lobster moka risotto

Pan fried duck breast (£17.50) was also very pleasant to eat. The duck was nicely cooked, pink and very tender, and it came with solid and trusty worth accompaniment of marinated red cabbage. In addition there was a sprinkling of almond flakes and a citrusy mandarin jus.

View 94 - London Food Blog - Pan fried duck breast

View 94 – Pan fried duck breast

To desserts, and a fondant black forest (£7.50) with vanilla ice cream and a sour cherry coulis was solid. The fondant was rich with a runny centre, and the coulis serving as a good acidic contrast to the chocolate. A second “Cappuccino” dessert (£6.50) consisted of an espresso cheese cake with coffee jelly fiordilatte ice cream, Italian meringue and gluten free cantucci. It was well made, creamy and smooth and with a good flavour. But overall I found the cheesecake a touch too sweet.

I liked the food at View 94. Chef Antonio does well to draw out flavour from the fresh, seasoning ingredients that he uses. It’s not cutting edge cooking, but rather smart, steady, solid cooking with some modernity thrown in. The service was pleasant and in the round View 94 is a very pleasant place to eat. The views are spectacular with the setting working best on a nice sunny day. Although the food was good, View 94 isn’t a restaurant I would go out of my way for during the winter. But come the summer – no question at it. It’s a superb riverside dining location.

Summary information:
Likes:

1) The beef tartare
2) The amazing views.

Dislikes:
1) I enjoyed the lobster risotto, but would have preferred it more al dente.

Food rating: 3.5/5
Service rating: 3.5/5

Prices: about £26 to £38 a head. Excludes drinks and service.

Website:http://view-94.com/

Square Meal

View94 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Tags: , , ,



Rivea London

RIVEA LONDON

The Rivea London Restaurant at the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge draws its inspiration from the vibrant food markets of the Italian and French Riviera. Therefore what you see on the table is a blend of French and Italian dishes drawn up from the freshest seasonal produce. Executive Chef Alexandre Nicolas worked with Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse both in London and Paris for ten years. As such, he brings a touch of refinement to a menu that focuses on simple, yet bold flavours.

We booked the ‘Star Deal’ menu at Rivea London through Bookatable.co.uk which comprised of four plates and a glass of wine for a very reasonable £35 per person. The starter selection offers a varied choice of six options, and accordingly we each chose different dishes and were able to try four items. The Star Deal menu is very much designed for sharing, as is the a la carte menu, which is something that I love to be able to do.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Bread Selection

Rivea London – Bread Selection

We began the meal with a selection of breads (lemon, focaccia and sourdough) accompanied by a tasty selection of nine, mostly vegetarian dips such as beetroot and horseradish and pumpkin and nutmeg. This was a really colourful way to start the evening before we moved onto the glorious starters. The ‘Rivea’ niçoise salad wrapped in a socca (a thin chickpea flour pancake which originates from Nice) was one of the best niçoise salads I have ever tasted. All the ingredients were delicious, but it was the dressing that set the dish alight, as it was lovely and delicate, and it showed off an incredibly skillful touch. Also well conceived was the mozzarella with puntarella (chicory).

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Salad (l), mozarella (r)

Rivea London – Salad (l), mozarella (r)

A tuna tartare was also wonderful, boasting of precisely cut pieces of tasty tuna which had been lovingly marinated. We also enjoyed the marinated line-caught sea bream with citrus. The sea bream was delicious and the accompanying citrus dressing proved to an eclectic pairing. The dressing was rich and creamy, and perhaps a little overpowering against the fish, but overall the dish very tasty.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Tuna & sea bream

Rivea London – Tuna & sea bream

We thought both of our main courses to be delicious if a little small in size. The scallops with accompaniments of Jerusalem artichoke puree, pieces of pancetta and hazelnuts proved to be a fabulous dish, abounding with lots of umami flavour. The scallops were perfectly cooked with a nice caramelisation, the puree was delightfully creamy, and the pancetta and hazelnuts added another dimension to the dish.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Scallops

Rivea London – Scallops

The second main of veal fillet was a simple dish, yet nicely executed. The veal was tender and paired warmly with some potato gratin and spinach. To finish off the dish was a lovely, flavoursome veal jus.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Veal fillet

Rivea London – Veal fillet

Moving onto the desserts and we found the tiramisu to be somewhat of a disappointment. It was bland, with too much cream and not enough coffee or vanilla flavour. The house dessert of a ‘St Tropez’ cake, a brioche sponge with orange blossom and sandwiched with a vanilla marscapone cream faired better and was more enjoyable with its light, airy texture and delicious creamy filling.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Dessert

Rivea London – Dessert

The ‘Star Deal’ set menu at Rivea London put on an impressive display of cooking talent and wonderful produce. Everything that we ate and the house wine that came with the set menu demonstrated quality. Furthermore, we were also charmed by the extremely professional and welcoming service. To round off the experience, Rivea London made for a truly glamorous venue. The décor was wonderfully stylish with a chic ambience, yet it did not overwhelm the diner so as to still maintain a sense of relaxed elegance.

At £35, the ‘Star Deal’ at Rivea London proved to be really great value for money. I was really impressed and I would go again.

SUMMARY INFORMATION:
Likes

1) The niçoise salad wrapped in a socca.
2) The tuna tartare.
3) The veal dish.
4) The scallop dish.
5) The wonderful service.
6) The ambience.
7) The great value star deal menu.

Dislikes:
1) The tiramisu.

Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 4/5

Price: The ‘Star deal’ menu on Bookatable.co.uk is £35 and includes one glass of wine. Excludes other drinks and service.

Website: http://rivealondon.com/

Rivea London - Bulgari Hotel & Residences Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Square Meal


Tags: , , , ,



Menabrea Beer – Slow Dining at L’anima

Multi-award winning Italian brand, Menabrea Beer, hosted an exclusive supper at London’s L’Anima Restaurant last Monday which I really enjoyed. Brewed in the Piedmont town of Biella at the foothills of the Italian Alps, Menabrea is well known throughout Italy, especially in its Northern heartland. Menabrea is Italy’s oldest continuously operating brewery, and the beer is brewed using the same methods used since the brewery’s inception in 1846, encapsulating over 150 years of skill and craftsmanship. There are only five ingredients in the Menabrea brand of beers, but those ingredients are of the highest quality with the result being a beer that has a refreshing flavour and crisp texture.

L'Anima - London Food Blog - Menabrea Beer

L’Anima – Menabrea Beer

(Continue reading her story…)


Tags: ,



Mezzaluna, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

MEZZALUNA, EMIRATES PALACE

Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi is a landmark hotel located on the West Corniche of Abu Dhabi, overlooking the Arabian Gulf and occupying a stretch of private beach about 1.3km long. The hotel was built in the style of an Arabian Palace and its aim is to provide guests with the ultimate luxury experience, comparable to the kind that royalty receive. In fact, the hotel is particularly popular with reigning royalty. The top floor of the hotel is made up entirely of ‘Rulers Suites’, suites specifically reserved for use by Heads of States. But other dignitaries and celebrities also flock to the Emirates Palace and it counts notable figures such as Bill Clinton and Robert de Niro as its past guests.

Like Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Emirates Palace also featured in the blockbuster movie Fast & Furious 7, and in 2010, the Emirates Palace made headlines with a £7m Christmas tree draped in diamonds. Little wonder then that it makes for a great tourist attraction, with TripAdvisor ranking Emirates Palace as one of the top tourist spots in Abu Dhabi. Even if you’re not staying at the Emirates Palace it is well worth a visit just to take in the grandeur and opulence of its interior bejeweled with silver, gold, marble and Swarovski crystal chandeliers.

We had dinner at Mezzaluna, an Italian restaurant which is one of nine restaurants at the Emirates Palace. The menu serves a range of classic Italian dishes with antipastas, pastas and risottos, and also extends to pizzas as well. The décor of the restaurant is formal and every bit as opulent as the rest of the hotel.

We began our meal with veal tenderloin slow cooked with a creamy tuna sauce (AED120 – £20.80). This was delicious as the veal was wonderfully tender and flavoursome and had a creamy, almost milk-like flavour to it. The tuna sauce was also delicious. Creamy and tasty, yet not overpowering, it paired perfectly with the veal. The dish was a little cold, but otherwise it was an outstanding plate of food.

Mezzaluna Emirates Palace - London Food Blog - Veal tenderloin

Mezzaluna Emirates Palace – Veal tenderloin

(Continue reading her story…)


Tags: ,



Quattro Passi

QUATTRO PASSI

Quattro Passi on London’s Dover Street comes from the hands of Two Michelin-starred chef Antonio Mellino who brings his blend of elegant and stylish Italian fine-dining to Mayfair. Antonio Mellino earned his Michelin stars at his flagship restaurant Quattro Passi Nerano where he came into recognition for his light and delicate touch on pasta and fabulous seafood and meat dishes. His menu is seasonal and is prepared using the best produce shipped daily from the Amalfi coast to the UK.

The well-appointed restaurant is luxurious yet comfortable, and is in keeping with the elegance of Chef Mellino’s food. Ambient touches include hand-sculpted leather wall, French silk wallpaper and delightful modern artworks.

We began our meal with skewers of scallops and prawns (£24) which were delicious. Perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned, they were brimming with a fresh sea flavour. Accompanying the skewers were some spring onions and a ‘Romanchesi’ sautéed broccoli ‘couscous’ which were both lovely. There was also a blackberry reduction and other fruity touches of orange and passionfruit that completed the dish nicely with their contrasting sweetness and acidity. This was a lovely starter, although pricey.

London Food Blog - Quattro Passi - Scallop & prawn skewer

Quattro Passi – Scallop & prawn skewer

(Continue reading her story…)


Tags: , ,



Diciannove 19 at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Blackfriars – Visit No. 2

We dined at Diciannove 19 at the Crown Plaza Hotel about a year ago and loved the experience. We tried a variety of cicchetti (Italian tapas) and home made pastas and enjoyed all our dishes as everything was absolutely delicious. The service was really fabulous as well. So it was with great expectation that we decided to visit Diciannove 19 again. You can read about that previous visit here.

The menu hasn’t changed much since our last visit other than the fact that Diciannove 19 are currently offering an exclusive white truffle menu created by Executive Chef Alessandro Bay. There is a starter, pasta and main dish, all accompanied by shavings of glorious white truffles from Umbria and which can be ordered a la carte.

To get things started we began our evening with the Il Supremo for 1-2 people (£17.50), the antipasta platter. This included fried calamari, fried zucchini, prosciutto Toscano ham, Finocchiona salami, Mortadella di Bologna, sausage, Parmegiano Reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese and pickles. This was a great cross section of Italian nibbles that did much to whet our appetite. The meats were tasty, and there was a lovely crunchiness to the calamari and zucchini.

Diciannove - Il Supremo - Fried calamari, fried zucchini, prosciutto toscano ham, finocchiona salami, mortadella di bologna sausage, parmegiano reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese and pickles.

Diciannove – Il Supremo – Fried calamari, fried zucchini, prosciutto toscano ham, finocchiona salami, mortadella di bologna sausage, parmegiano reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese and pickles.

(Continue reading her story…)


Tags: , , ,