Enoteca Rabezzana Farringdon
62-63 Long Lane, EC1A 9EJ
Young Genoese chef Guglielmo Arnulfo whose cooking I admired a couple of years ago at Acciuga (see our review), his Kensington restaurant showcasing the food of his native Liguria, has gone into partnership for his second venture with Italian winemakers Rabezzana Vini.
Together they have opened a new wine bar in the City. Enoteca Rabezzana is a much more informal operation than Acciuga with a menu of small dishes and sharing plates as well as an A la carte. With the Rabezzana connection it is also a more wine-driven offer and the list featuring almost 150 Italian bottles has real strength in depth.
But how would Arnulfo’s food translate to the hustle and bustle of the City? Some unexpected deep-fried courgettes came out of the kitchen-hot and fresh-just like me…
For my first dish I had to try the Ligurian speciality Trofie al pesto di Rossi (£11). It was sublime with a creaminess from the pasta and a vegetal taste from the basil that is quite specific to the basil from Genoa.
Fiona, who was reviewing with me went for sausages, Salamella alla Griglia (£6), which were rustic, meaty and salty. We were drinking a light red wine, a Verduno Bel Colle 2013 (£6.50 125 ml) that showed a great balance of tannin and fruit.
With our mains we drank a Falanghina from Abruzzo that was mineral and light and perfect with the Fritto misto di mare (£18). The fish and seafood were perfectly fried with the lightest of coatings and were so full of flavour that I wanted to weep tears of happiness. Obviously I didn’t but Guglielmo’s focus on using the best produce is articulated so eloquently in simple dishes like this and the trofie which are so delicious.
Paprika fries (£4) were crisp and spicy…
and a green salad (£3) was so simple and perfect with just a splash of oil and balsamic.
Dolce Amore (£8) was a delicious boozy take on a Tiramisu and
Bonet (£7), the soft Piedmontese dessert of rum, egg, cocoa and Amaretti biscuits, was rich and indulgent. We washed our desserts down with glasses of Malvasina di Castelnovo, a not too sweet sparkling red (£4.50 125ml).
The quality of cooking and ingredients at Enoteca Rabezzana is way beyond its price point. When Farringdon station reopens it will be impossible to get into. It is a place of real quality and integrity. Try it while you can.