GRAZING MAGNIFICENTLY ITALIAN AT ‘EDDALINO’ IN LONDON
‘Eddalino’, 10 Wigmore Street, London, Tel: (0207) 637-0789.
This is a tale of three visits. Having visited this restaurant three times over a 2-month period, both at lunch and dinnertime, I feel confident about the thoroughness of this review. This place serves truly regional Italian cuisine. A selection of some of the best of 21 regions of Italy is offered.
Wine, Olives, Warm Bread and Virgin Olive Oil.
Our first choice, Schiopetto Pinot Grigio was out of stock so we went with the funky Jermann Pinot Grigio 2001, Friuli. Both are excellent examples of Pinot Grigio; so often we get common-or-garden wines made with the Pinot Grigio (Gris) grape that the varietal has developed a bad reputation.
Aubergine pate with cheese crisp.
Risotto con mascardini e vongole.
Baby octopus and clams risotto was of the northern style as befits the chef’s origins.
Superfine Carnaroli rice.
This limited production rice is the secret of the recipe. It was encouraging to see such attention to detail when it comes to the origins of ingredients. I felt like I would have been welcomed to go into the kitchen myself, were it not for the health regulations!
Nodino di vitello arrostito in crosta d’erbe con misticanza di funghi e verdure.
Veal chop glazed with herb crust, served with mushroom and vegetable ragù. This was an enormous chop unlike the usual small portioned carne dish. Very aromatic ragù and crunchy herb crust with tender pink meat within.
No dessert was ordered but we were not allowed to leave without a small tasting of the glazed fruit tart.
Our Spanish maitre’d, Audres Troga (2nd from L) and his team.
The French sommelier is sporting his ‘golden bunch of grapes’ brooch. Other waiters were Italian.
We often joke about Spanish waiters ala ‘Fawlty Towers’ but Spain is one of the few countries with a professional waiters’ school thus turning out professional, service-orientated graduates.
VISIT 2 (No photos)
Regular WFED-ders are expected to ‘imagine’ the repast from the tasting notes
This was a private romantic dinner for two, which I can report as being one of the best in our lives with superlative food and wines chosen by the sommelier to go with our food. We played the ‘Sommelier’s Choice’ game. This was our menu and wine list:
Prosecco: Bracchetto d’Acqui NV, Viticoltori Dell’Acquese – Piemonte.
White 1: Müller Thurgau 2002, Franz Haas, Trentino. The wine was light yellow-straw colour with green shades. The bouquet has a delicate aroma evocative of Muscat and fresh fruit. It was fresh on the palate. Müller Thurgau is a wine that expresses its highest qualities of freshness and pureness when young but it can still gain with aging. 2002 was an awful year for Italy due to inclement weather but this bottle was wonderful with the distinctive tastes of lobster and tomato.
White 2: Manna 2001, Franz Haas, Trentino-Alto Adige. From a largely German-speaking province, this wine was fresh and fragrant. This wine was deep on the nose, full and rich in the mouth. It is a cuvee of Chardonnay, late-picked aromatic Traminer, Sauvignon Bianco and Riesling. When it is young, Manna has a pale yellow colour with green reflections, as it ages it acquires golden yellow shades. This went nicely with the fish main courses.
The Franz Haas winery and vineyards was founded in 1880. Since then, it has been making wines from their own grapes and always in family hands; even the name has been the same, rolling over from father to son. The current Franz Haas is the seventh generation of the same name. All vineyards are located in Montagna in Egna and on the hillside of Cislon.
1. Guazzetto di gamberoni con fregola e uovo di quaglia affogato in pomodoro. (Prawn casserole with fregola and quail eggs poached in fresh tomato broth).
2. Culatello di Zibello D.Q.P. con verdurine all’aspretto. (Culatello – the finest most tender Italian ham served with homemade pickled vegetables).
1. Spaghetti con astice. (Spaghetti with lobster).
2. Chitarrine in ragù bianco di gamberoni e asparagi. (Handmade chitarrine in prawns and
1. Coda di rospo alla griglia con pepperoni dolci, zesta di limo e rucola. (Chargrilled monkfish served with sweet peppers, rocket and lime zest).
2. Involtino di branzino e melanzane in salsa di mandorle, capperi e spinaci. (Pan-fried sea bass wrapped in aubergine with almonds and caper sauce served with sautéed spinach).
CHEESE, DESSERT, CHOCOLATES, ESPRESSO & GRAPPE
These were all superlative.
This was dinner with my boss, who also happens to run his own vineyards – eek! No pressure, really?
Complimentary Prosecco to start.
We played the ‘Sommelier’s Choice’ game again. I like this game.
Le Bruniche, Chardonnay 2002, Nozzole, Tuscany.
‘Le Bruniche’ is made with Chardonnay grapes from the Nozzole estate. The grapes are harvested in late September and placed in cold storage prior to gentle pressing to preserve the fruity character that is so remarkable on both the nose and palate. The result is an elegant, fresh Chardonnay with citrus notes and a long finish.
Morellino di Scansano DOC 2002, Elisabetta Geppetti, Fattoria le Pupille.
Dark, rich ruby colour. Cherry aroma in the nose, as expected from a grape named for a type of cherry but also rich and warm earthiness from the Alicante and Malvasia Nera for complexity. The taste was of ripe plums with oak and earth. Despite the generally poor 2002 harvest, it was balanced, fruity and with strong tannin.
Elisabetta Geppetti, has been steadily improving the wines of Maremma, in the extreme south of Tuscany. The climate here is warmer than in northern Tuscany thus producing richer, more powerful wines. This is an excellent example of the fine wines from this region. The wine is made with 85% Sangiovese and 15% Alicante & Malvasia Nera grapes.
Harvesting is from mid-September to mid-October, and fermentation carried out in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature (max. 30°C). Then, two-thirds of the next stage of malolactic fermentation takes place in the same stainless steel vats, and the remaining third in small oak barrels for about five months. After light filtration and clarification with whisked egg whites, the wine is bottled by the end of the following April.
Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina DOC 1985, Villa di Vetrice.
Sweet wine with flavour of port wine was our game sommelier’s excellent choice to accompany the desserts. Note the plural form, more of which later……
Emulsion soup of fatty Italian sausage, drizzled with virgin olive oil. This was delicious, if one could only put away hypercholesterolaemic thoughts.
Insalatina di finocchio con fagiolini, cipolla di Tropea e parmagiano. (Fennel, French bean & red onion salad with Parmesan shavings).
Both Diners: A well-executed salad with simple but fresh ingredients combined harmoniously.
Linguine con accughe, pomodorini e rucola. (Linguine with anchovies, cherry tomatoes & rocket).
Both Diners: Firm pasta in a balanced, chewy sauce with texture and flavour. Anchovies can be salty but not so in this rendition. Superb.
Branzino alla griglia con spinaci e olio e limone. (Chargrilled sea bass with sauté spinach & lemon oil dressing).
MTF: Crispy skin and just-cooked flesh. This is how fish should be done to maximise flavour and maintain texture. Bravo!
San Pietro in quazzetto di cozze, patate e erbette. (Casserole John Dory with mussels, potatoes & herbs).
Diner 2: I had a taste of the San Pietro, which was as good as it looks, again not overdone. Brava!
Alas, by tipping the dish for the photo, some valuable juice was lost!
We did not order this but it sort of arrived, to keep us occupied before the real desserts.
I think it was Tortina alle ciliege e mandorla con sorbetto al cioccolato e salsa alla vanilla. (Cherry & almond tart with chocolate sorbet & vanilla sauce). A little dry for my taste but then again, not something I would order.
MTF: Tortino semifreddo al cioccolato con gelato alla vanila. (Warm chocolate parfait cake with vanilla ice-cream). That’s real vanilla in the ice cream.
Diner 2: Panacotta al brodino di fragole e biscotto. (Panacotta with strawberry shortcake & strawberry jus).
Dessert wine (see above).
More shortbread cookies and pastries.
These appeared just when we thought we had finished.
This appeared with the coffee, so I never did find out what it was, except it was yummy.
Will this meal never end?
Originating from the region of Le Marche, Francesco Pesce, Eddalino's head chef, learnt his trade at the highly acclaimed ‘Culinary Arts’ course at the Istituto Alfredo Panzini in Senigallia on the Adriatic coast. While studying, he worked in a number of top hotels and restaurants in Le Marche and in Piemonte where he put his study into practice. After finishing chef school he worked for Gianfranco Vissani, one of Italy's well-known and Michelin-rated master chefs.
FRONT OF HOUSE:
The service was attentive, efficient and congenial without being intrusive. Senor Troga and his colleagues certainly made our visits more enjoyable than just the food and drink could have achieved.
Dear Reader, you may already have an inkling that this is one of my favourite restaurants, subjectively. Objectively, it gets two-thumbs up and a couple of “Hallelujahs”!
Photos and Text Copyright Melvyn Teillol-Foo, 2004.