Thursday, May 20, 2010
Picture courtesy of Douglas Blyde
A recent invitation to a Sardinian feast at Alloro by the London Fine Dinning Group prompted me to revise my view of both the quantity and quality of top class Italian Restaurants in London .
It was a pleasure to have Douglas Blyde as a dining companion not only because of his "intoxicating prose" but because he takes beautiful pictures too, and I can then focus on the food and wine !
I first ate at Alloro in 2003 what was an above average for London Italian lunch and then again a year or so later experienced an exceptional dinner just before Christmas. What happened in that period is that Daniele Camera who originates from Turin took over as head chef. The restaurant itself reminds me of the timeless establishments one finds in Turin and Milan , understated elegance , superb service and a kitchen that delivers year in year out.
The evening was co sponsored by Feudi della Medusa and Vallebona Sardinian Gourmet.
Chef’s Selection of Canapés
Musamari de tùnnu con fasobeddu e pilarda
Wind dried tuna with green beans and sun dried tomatoes
~Albithia Vermentino di Sardegna 2008~
Supa de freula e coccioba
Soup of Sardinian cous-cous with tiny clams
~Alba Nora Isola dei Nuraghi 2007~
Malloreddus a sa moda campidanesa
Sardinian pasta with fresh sausage, tomato and pecorino cheese
~Cannonau di Sardegna 2006~
Proceddu e patatasa arrustidasa
Roast suckling pig with roast potatoes
~Gerione Isola dei Nuraghi 2006~
Sebadas cun meli de olioni
Traditional Sardinian cheese fritters with Corbezzolo Honey
~Aristeo Vino Passito 2005~
Caffei & Murta
Coffee & Traditional Myrtle Berry Liqueur
For me the stars of the evening were the Supa de freula e coccioba matched with Alba Nora Isola dei Nuraghi 2007 and Proceddu e patatasa arrustidasa matched with Gerione Isola dei Nuraghi 2006 . The soup was perfectly balanced and a perfect example of Daniele Camera's light touch whilst the Suckling Pig was one of the best I have eaten in the UK.
The Alba Nora Isola dei Nuraghi 2007 is a wonderful example of how you can make wonderful Chardonnay in Italy . The wine is an intense yellow with a flint and toasted almond bouquet coupled with a hint of sea salt taste.
Gerione Isola dei Nuraghi 2006 is a blend of Bovale , Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc .Maleolactic fermentation takes place in barriques . Maturation is for 18 months in 225 litre Ailler and Tronçais oak barriques. The scent reminds one of cherries with a tinge of Muscat and liquorice .There is a long lasting flavour that heightens the cherry and small fruit scents; a taste of tannin emerges at the back of the mouth that gives the wine its persona.
The delightful Claudio Benvenuti a Tuscan ex Frescobaldi who was seduced by Feudi della Medusa gave us a detailed history and background to all the indigenous and non indigenous wines the winery produces.
Those of us who live in London are really fortunate to have access to excellence at Alloro , Locanda Locatelli , L'Anima , Semplice and Zafferano . Alongside the aforementioned we also have some really good neighbourhood Italians like Edera , Enoteca Turi , Sardo and Locanda Ottoemezzo . Can we say the same in terms of quality and numbers about Chinese , Japanese or even Indian/Pakisatni cuisine ?