The latest feature by our restaurant reviewer Adrienne Fung is a review of the newly-opened Enoteca Rosso, an Italian wine bar and restaurant in Kensington, West London. Enoteca Rosso offers a selection of freshly made, seasonal pasta and gnocchi dishes, as well as rare and unusual cheeses and charcuterie, served alongside an extensive Italian-only wine lists.
Enoteca Rosso, Kensington
Words and photos by Adrienne Fung.
The other week, I had the chance to visit the newly opened Enoteca Rosso on High Street Kensington with a friend for lunch. Having spent some time living in Italy, I’m always eager to seek out authentic Italian restaurants around the world.
The thing with Italian restaurants is that there are a lot of them and most are not very authentic or good. There are numerous Italian chains from Olive Garden in the states to Bella Italia here in the UK that have, on one hand, made Italian cuisine more accessible to the public. They have, however, simultaneously diluted what real Italian food is meant to be. When I think about Italian food, there’s nothing mass-produced about it. It’s all about using the best local, seasonal ingredients combined with proper technique to make beautiful dishes that are often simple in theory, but complex in flavour.
When I heard about the opening of Enoteca Rosso, I was really looking forward to paying a visit. From décor to menu, Enoteca Rosso pays homage to its Italian roots. Head Chef, Flavio Militello, has worked in some of Milan’s most prestigious hotels and restaurants including Felix Lo Basso, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Milan.
Militello’s menu showcases the best Italian produce including some of the rarest cheeses and charcuterie from different regions throughout Italy.
Before even getting to the food menu, the first thing I noticed about Enoteca Rosso was the impressive collection of wine. Lining the restaurant walls from floor to ceiling were hundreds of bottles of Italian wine, all from small batch producers around the country. While it was a little too early for us to dabble in the wine, we’ll be sure to head back for happy hour soon. Enoteca Rosso has an entire section of the menu just dedicated to Taglieri (charcuterie & cheese boards). I can’t count the number of times this has become my dinner, so to have 30+ wines by the glass plus a variety of taglieri to choose from is a dream come true.
One of the things I loved about Enoteca Rosso was that they offered three different portion sizes for all meat and pasta dishes. This is the ideal setup for someone like me who can never decide on just one dish.
Whenever I go out to eat with friends, chances are we’ll end up sharing a few dishes which is exactly what my friend and I did this visit. We decided to try three different pasta dishes and two different meat dishes, all in the smallest “to taste” portion. That’s exactly what it was: just big enough for a taste.
For pastas, we ordered the Saffron Tagliatelle with Lamb Ragout and Raspadura Cheese; Beetroot Gnocchi with Speck and Stracchino Cheese Fondue and Black Ravioli with Burrata and Sundried Tomatoes in a Basil Pesto Sauce.
The beetroot gnocchi were by far my favourites. Upon the first bite, I immediately regretted not ordering a larger portion. They were light and pillowy; the creamy stracchino cheese fondue dotted by sticks of speck offered the perfect bite of umami.
My friend loved the tagliatelle, which also packed a punch of flavour. The delicate strands of fresh pasta adorned with fragrant lamb ragout made for a delicious, well-balanced dish. The black ravioli, while also very nice, wasn’t quite as memorable as the other two.
For the meat dishes, we tried tasting portions of the Wild Boar Stew with Polenta as well as the Duck Breast with Wild Berry Sauce and Potato Gratin.
Unfortunately both meat dishes didn’t wow us like the pastas did. In the stew, the boar meat was a bit tough and the polenta was gritty, not quite the smooth and creamy texture we were expecting.
The duck breast dish was quite a generous portion and certainly more than just a taste, but unfortunately the slices of duck were drowned in the wild berry sauce and any flavour of actual duck was lost.
We ended our meal with a Hazelnut Mousse with Mascarpone, Almonds and Maldon Salt, and we were so glad we did. The creamy mousse, full of bold, hazelnut flavour, was complimented perfectly by the crunch from the almonds. The mousse had just the right level of sweetness and the sprinkle of Maldon salt made this dessert absolutely addictive.
Enoteca Rosso is a wonderful addition to the neighbourhood. The 70-cover restaurant offers a sophisticated dining room, a mix of communal and private tables, as well as plenty of bar seating, making it suitable for almost any occasion.
Don’t miss out on the fresh pastas and be sure to also try some wine, charcuterie and cheeses too!
Disclaimer: Adrienne was a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are her own.