280 Kensington High Street, W8 6ND
WLC Rank : 117
Glass from : £ 5.50 (175 ml)
BEST FORFloor-to-ceiling Italian wines
Fresh pastas with regional integrity
Close to the Design Museum
‘Italy is just 150 years old, made up of small nations, each of them influenced by the French, Germans, Slavs, Normans, Arabs and the Spanish. This, together with the extraordinary variety of the landscapes and microclimates has created the unique combination of food and wine and that is what we showcase,’ proclaims co-founder and maitre d', Claudio Gelmini.
Offering good value, the wines on the well explained, entirely Italian list at this slick, but not vanity-over-sanity, South Kensington ‘food and wine experience’ are selected by Maitre d’, Claudio Gelmini, who also owns an Enoteca in Milan – Il Cinghiale Rosso. ‘They are all special, from Sicilia to Piemonte via Toscana, Marche and Lombardia,’ he says, adding, lyrically, ‘we are closely connected to our producers, having gone directly to the source and experienced the joy and love that transforms grapes into great wine – creating the best possible produce from their particular terroir…’
Of the distinctly realised setting, co-founder, Joao Silva comments: ‘we wanted the interior of bricks, velvet, wood and iron to offer warmth and comfort, transporting guests to ancient Tuscan farms.’ Unlike the principal rooms of those ancient homesteads perhaps, several walls of this former bank are lined with triangular shelves which are well-stocked with bottles, which may include renditions from Cantina Aldeno, Monteverro, Michele Satta, Terrazze Delletna and Famiglia Cavallero.
A minimum of 30 wines are available by the glass, too, featuring chic Franciacorta as well as angular Umbrian Grechetto, grumbly Barolo and even nectorous Marsala. ‘Italy is just 150 years old, made up of small nations, each of them influenced by the French, Germans, Slavs, Normans, Arabs and the Spanish. This, together with the extraordinary variety of the landscapes and microclimates has created the unique combination of food and wine and that is what we showcase,’ proclaims Gelmini.
The menu focuses on seasonal pasta and gnocchi, boards, named after wine regions and grape varieties heaving with rare and unusual cheeses (such as Capra Ubriaco al Traminer) and charcuterie from small batch producers (culatello di Zibello). Attractive dishes, realised by chef Flavio Militello and his team, come in three sizes depending on appetite, budget and sharing potential, and may include saffron tagliatelle with lamb ragout and raspadura shavings, ravioli filled with broccoli and ricotta, sausage crumbles, garlic and fresh chillies, slow-cooked pork fillet, chestnuts, pumpkin crisps with grilled polenta, and Rosso’s red salad with roast beetroot, mixed sprouts, orange, kale and sesame dressing. For pudding, try the green apple sorbet with Prosecco.
By Douglas Blyde.