Friday, November 28, 2008
L'Anima my new favourite Italian in London
I have been recommending this place to people since the summer simply on the basis of word of mouth from people I respect and specifically from people who know and understand Italian cuisine. The theme here is southern Italian especially Calabria as well as the Islands Scicily and Sardinia.
Today is the day I went and had a perfect, faultless lunch.
I can already say I prefer L'Anima ( Italian for Soul ) to Locanda Locatelli ( great food but portion control gone mad) and Enoteca Tui (where the wine list is the star) - by the way for those who think the River Cafe is a serious Italian Restaurant I suggest you click to another review !
The Pappardelle with Wild Boar Sauce, a great winter dish was perfect as was a stunning Sicilian Rabbit a dish that captured everything that is good about food from that Island.
The contorni were perfect - thin , light and crispy fried Zucchini and perfect lime and chilli infused sauted spinach.
The olives and bread were excellent as was my cheese with hazelnut honey - a superb Pecorino Sardo !
Deserts looked amazing too and the wine list is very well selected not just with the great , Barolos , Brunellos and Super Tuscans but some great value wines from the very serious wine makers like , Haas , Felluga , etc. There are also top class wines from France and Spain.
Esspresso ? well perfeto !
I'm really happy for Fracesco Mazzei who left the clutches of Corbin and King those once great restaurateurs who are unfortunateley ruining their good reputations with poor excuses for restaurants like The Wolsey.
Anyway I shall return to try the Black Pig Pork Belly , Safron and Quail Risotto not to mention the top class grilled meats and fish ! As well as deserts of course.
On the left there are raised tables and stools for a quick lunch/dinner and the restaurant also opens for breakfast - apparently excellent too for the local italian Merchant Bankers who miss their Mamas !
Update June 1st 2009
I have tried to eat in L'Anima at least once a month since it opened and am happy to say that standards remain high and attention to detail is second to none.
Had a wonderful meal here today.
Douglas Blyde had tipped me off that Fracesco Mazzei was away but the kitchen was on top form under head chef Luca Tarraneo.
My objective today was to debrief a very good friend who was not so keen on Italian food and wine . This of course is a challenge in London where good Italian restaurants can be counted on one hand.
I started with Paccheri Amatriciana which was delicious as usual my only quibble is all the pasta starter portions are too small if youhave not had an antipasti.
My Black Pig Slow Roasted Belly with Cantarata sauce was simply sensational.
Steve had the wonderful Papardelle with Duck Ragu and toasted Pistachios followed by Spit Roasted Spring Leg of lamb with Grilled Zucchinni and Roasted Potatoes.
We shared the wonderful sauteed Spinach (with a hint of chilli and lemon rind) and London's best Deep Fried Zucchini.
For desert I had the light and subtle Gianduia cake and Steve opted for the stunning Chocolate Truffle.
Wines ( we went for it - had to be done)
Frans Haas Mana Cru 2007 - Alto Adige
Barolo ‘Le Cinque Vigne’, Damilano 2002 , Piedmont
Ben Rye , Passito Di Pantelleria , Donna Fugata , 2007
The espresso was perfect as usual and it was great to meet and discuss wines with French Sommelier Nicolas Verhoye.
The long trek to West London was a sobering experience !