food + drink Shoreditch

Passione Vino, Shoreditch


What started life as a quirky and colourful bottle shop showcasing owner, Luca Dusi’s passion for fine Italian wine has evolved into a fantastic eatery, but one where the vino still takes centre stage…

Passione Vino Wine shop bar
Passione Vino shop, wine bar and restaurant. Photo: Gemma Bell

From the bright blue façade of Passione Vino on Leonard Street, Shoreditch, it’s easy to mistake it for just another of the area’s many wine shops and bars, occupying a small, but richly decorated room at ground level. However, upon entering, you will quickly realise that there’s so much more to Passione Vino, and not just in terms of space and decor.

Yes, the place is positively labyrinthine, with a dark and evocative basement perfect for clandestine boozing, and an opulent private dining area hidden behind a mirrored door. And yes, owner, Luca Dusi is clearly a man for who more is definitely more when it comes to interior design – we’re talking vividly coloured floral wallpaper in varying shades, pictures galore and shelf upon shelf of his beloved wine bottles. However, it’s the fact that in recent years, Passione Vino has become increasingly well known for its food as well as the wine, and that has turbo charged this wine shop to the next level.

Passione Vino Wine shop restaurant

On our mid-week visit, you could have filled the place twice over with the number of walk-ins who had to be politely turned away, which, I’m ashamed to admit, made us feel rather smug that we had bagged ourselves a table.

To get proceedings underway, our attentive waiter, who on our visit happened to be the lovely manager, Stefano, suggested a glass of Malibran Sottoriva Col Fondo, which we both agreed was one of the nicest Proseccos to pass our lips, being more frizzante than fizzy with a unique complexity and intenseness. It perfectly complemented the salted almonds and olive di Norcellara that we nibbled on while looking at the menu.

Passione Vino restaurant
Spalla cotta Emiliana (cooked pork shoulder)

Both owner Luca and chef Pascal Lazzarotto hail from Northern Italy – Verona and Padova to be precise – and this is where the menu is firmly rooted. Our opening choices of Spalla cotta Emiliana (cooked pork shoulder) and Baccala mantecato (whipped salt cod on grilled polenta) met with Stefano’s approval, who proffered up a glass of Granatza Barbagi IGT Bianco as accompaniment. This Sardinian white was indeed the perfect match, being lemony fresh and eminently quaffable, and the perfect foil to the richness of the starters.

Our mains shortly followed, a Bigoli con ragu cervo (thick spaghetti with venison sauce) for me and a Gnocchi di patate fatti in casa (home-made potato gnocchi with peas and sausage) for my friend. I was more than delighted with my choice, but was blown away by the gnocchi I sampled – such light pillows of potatoey loveliness and unlike anything you buy at the supermarket. Again, Stefano was on hand to steer us to a suitable wine, in this instance a Sergio Genuardi Lunaria, a white wine with incredible minerality, hailing from the chalky, limestone soil of Sicily.

Passione Vino pasta
Gnocchi di patate fatti in casa (home-made potato gnocchi with peas and sausage) and Bigoli con ragu cervo (thick spaghetti with venison sauce)

Not feeling the need for dessert, we opted instead for some cheese, which was not on the menu, but our lovely waiter was happy to oblige. He was also happy to oblige with a final wine pairing, a Barolo Mantoetto Francassi Ratti Mentone, a luscious, fruity red which provided the perfect ending to a perfect meal. In testament to such a fine dining experience, we’d already booked a return visit before even out of the door!

Passione Vino
85 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4QS

Passione Vino wine bar and restaurant
Passione Vino private dining area. Photo: Gemma BellPhoto: Gemma Bell
Passione Vino wine bar and restaurant
Passione Vino shop, wine bar and restaurant. Photo: Gemma Bell


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