There's a Trattoria Semplice too just a few yards down the road if you want a more traditional Italian but at the 'ristorante', modern Italian cooking meets the best of Italian ingredients providing the magic touch when you are after something a little bit more special.
My dining companion today is @winechapUK who is a long term fan of the restaurant and who assures me on the quality of what we are to eat, and given his excellent knowledge, what we are to drink. By his account, bottles are sourced and imported directly from suppliers so that the best of Italian wine can be offered at the keenest of prices; understandably, here, I'm very much in his hands. I'm delighted to say that both he and the restaurant delivered.
The menu is divided up into a typical trio (antipasti, pasta and carne e pesce) and I'm tempted across the board. Fortunately, the restaurant resolves my dilemma by allowing us a tasting menu across their offering which we eagerly accept.
First up is the 'Vitello tonnato', sliced fillet of veal with 'tonnata sauce'. This is simply lovely with the most tender, wonderfully executed veal with a tonnata sauce that is light, balanced and fresh. A lovely little start to the meal.
Next up is the Fassone carpaccio, which I understand to be beef from a cattle breed native of Piedmont. We're also told that the carpaccio comes from the female cow rather than the male which marks it as unusual. I must admit to being a novice in these finer distinctions but it tastes good indeed, seasoned perfectly well and with the lambs lettuce and dressing adding a nice refreshing acidity providing overall balance on a well executed dish. Semplice (and goodness did I pronounce this badly till I heard how it should be said and then I still probably massacred it) is Italian for simple, but as we have said before in our blog (see Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier) that 'simple dishes' often give more satisfaction than 'complex dishes' because complexity can hide many sins whereas a simple dish has nowhere to hide and if it's not good, it's soon found out. Here, there are no such worries and the quality shines.
Breaded monkfish and soft poached egg follows. Monkfish is often known as poor man's lobster but there's nothing poor here, the monkfish is wonderfully tender, combines well with the egg while roughly hewn croutons lend a nice textural crunch. This is followed by sedanini pasta with a venison ragu and black cabbage sauce which provides another delight. More traditional Italian for sure but perfectly executed as you'd expect pasta from a Michelin starred Italian to be.
The final main is Roast Denham Estate venison with broccoli sprouts, blueberry, and red wine and foie gras sauce. Again, simple but splendid. Venison not overcooked (amazing how often it has been elsewhere). Beautiful.
For dessert, rhubarb and white chocolate with a rhubarb shot. This was a refreshing rather than heavy dessert with the chocolate and rhubarb offering a finely paired balance, lifted by sprigs of mint. As the chocoholic half of the criticalcouple, I would have been happy with a sweeter orientation but I recognise that this dessert offered finesse rather than just unadulterated sweet gratification.
Return to homepage