Enoteca Rosso; once I’d wrapped my head around the name, I wrapped my lips around a whole lot of wine glasses. This chic Italian doesn’t let you leave hungry and is a pasta strand away from guests having to sleep in the restaurant from carb overload. The fine food and fare comes with a side dish of charming staff with engrossing tales of their heritage at their helm, all of which can be enjoyed whilst sipping a Tempranillo.
The spacious Kensington restaurant delights with its wine bottle lined walls, best described as being like a Scandi-style cellar. Imaginative Italian food ranging from plates of charcuterie and cheeses to salads and gutsy meat dishes make up the page-turner of a menu, and dishes ebb and flow regularly, depending on produce and season.
I was pleased I kept it light for lunch, swerving my normal overload of (likely) a Thai green curry, followed by various snacks circa 3pm, and pulled up a pew to delight in the rambunctious Enoteca Rosso menu offerings. Sitting comfortably between flirty wine bottles balancing in terracotta triangles, Cerignola olives were quick to grace our rustic table, accompanied by a ravishing display of cheese, meats, croutons, breads and some of the finest olive oil (the entirety of the latter being Enoteca’s version of an aperitif), the feasting began…
The wines we tried came thick and fast, all 125ml to avoid word slurring, and ranging between Rosso IGT Umbria “Le Lucrezie” 2016, Tudernum, an enjoyable Sangiovese blend from Todi and a Ruché Di Castagnole Monferrato “Pro Nobis” 2016, from Cantine Sant’Agata in Piedmont. There wasn’t a wine from the five, eight, ten? (who knows) that we didn’t enjoy, all providing contrasting and more meal-fitting tones to the next. Granted, you might need a wine atlas to traverse the vineyards of Italy, growers and grape varieties punctuating the pages but that’s where the attentive, highly-knowledgable staff come in handy! Either way, a white, rose or red oenophile will benefit from the bountiful menu of wines.
Pasta, if I hadn’t previously mentioned is made on-site, and you can tell. Bulging with freshness and flavour, the pasta dishes are helpfully served in small portions, and the green spinach ravioli filled with goat cheese and lemon, served with olive oil and almond shavings was mind-bogglingly good. As was the agnolotti del plin which is a small raviolo that is very traditional from Piedmont, filled with pistachio and served on red prawn tartare, finished with prawn bisque. Overall, the dishes were exquisite but, as a fiend for a charcuterie board with lashings of artisan cheese this was my true champion.
As it began to get to that point where the fact it was an weekday evening became a distant memory with every sip, and my dining companion stared at me like I was tasting alcohol for the first time after a drought, I put down the wine and picked up the spoon. Desserts at Enoteca Rosso are just as wholesome, hearty and Italian family around the dinner table as you’d expect, from Tiramisù Rosso’s splattered with Crema di mascarpone, to Chocolate almond cake with Guinness ganache, salted caramel and banana ice cream, you’ll leave feeling like Matilda did after she was forced to consume that entire chocolate cake.
Overall, the experience was fantastic and shows that Kensington has got itself a winery for all vinously minded. Would I return? Yes. Would I eat that much again, like, ever, in any restaurant? No. Thank you ever so much Enoteca Rosso!
Enoteca Rosso can be found at 276-280 Kensington High Street, Kensington, W8 6ND, www.enotecarosso.com