Excellent eateries are aplenty around Smithfield market and this Italian wine bar and restaurant makes no exception. With a history of wine-making stretching back over 100 years to their name, Rabezanna Vini are Italian wine producers from the Piedmont region in Italy. Their wine list of more than 150 Italian wines, all served by knowledgable sommeliers, sits proudly alongside an authentic, sophisticated menu, created by talented Executive chef, Federico Casali.
The menu consists of regional dishes – from small plate tapas to more hearty, traditional fare (including, of course, pasta!) – with all ingredients sourced from small Italian independent farms and artisanal producers, as well as top UK suppliers. Indecision was rife with so much to choose from, so we put our meal entirely in the hands of our friendly Italian waiter and sommelier, who expertly paired each dish perfectly with complimentary delicious wines.
To start, a glass of well-balanced medium dry Venturini Baldini sparkling wine settled us in for what was to be a gastronomic feast.
A fruity white with honey overtones, Fondatori GP’ Albana Secco 2016, Merlotta accompanied one of the day’s specials: Battered baccala (salt cod) with punterelle (Italian chicory) and anchovy dressing. Battered fish will never be the same again after tasting this delicate, crispy perfectly-cooked fish, served on a bed of lightly steamed, slightly crunchy punterelle, which is officially my new favourite vegetable. This dish was served alongside Egg 63 served with Parmiagiano fondue and fresh truffle: an egg slow-cooked to 63 degrees and topped with a sublime combination of Parmigiano and fresh truffle, plus a serving of warm homemade bread to help mop up the creamy fondue. My partner opted for Tonnarello (spaghetti) with lime butter, red mullet and pistachio pesto – a fresh, moreish twist on classic spaghetti pesto!
The organic Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2015, Massimo Rivetti made a perfect paring with another daily special: Squid fake spaghetti, black squid ink, confit datterino, tomatoes and samphire – a carefully crafted spaghetti made from the squid with enough texture to soak up the accompanying ingredients. It was an absolute delight. A velvet-smooth and complex Barolo Prunotto 2013 went down very well with the rich and succulent Braised ox cheeks with black cabbage and chestnuts. We sat, belly’s happy, thinking how spoilt we’d been, when a Panna cotta with a red wine reduction and grape chutney arrived. Made with milk, cream and flavoured with lavender, it was everything you want from a dessert: sweet, delicate, palate cleansing and a bit naughty. And it was made even better alongside a glass of sweet smooth and delicious wine, Passito delle Venezie 2016. It was a taste of real Italy indeed; a celebration of fresh ingredients cooked in exquisite simplicity.
Start to work your way through Enoteca’s dishes with their set lunch menu; starter, main and glass of wine for only £20.
62-63 Long Lane, London EC1A 9EJ
020 76 000 266