Villa di Geggiano
66-68 Chiswick High Road, London W4 1SY
020 3384 9442/http://www.villadigeggiano.co.uk/
I spent my earliest years in the West London suburb of Chiswick. In those days it was considerably less well-heeled and on a corner of the high road sat a restaurant that was the epitome of sophistication to an impressionable six year old. It was called 007 and featured an enticingly mysterious sign featuring the silhouette of Sean Connery and his Berreta pistol. I’m back in Chiswick having been asked to review Villa di Geggiano, the London outpost of the eponymous Tuscan boutique wine estate located near Sienna; however there’s no sign of James, Shirley Bassey or even Q which is probably a good thing as even suburbs as smart as Chiswick tend to get flattened when they team up.Set back from Chiswick High Road the site occupied by Villa di Geggiano had in its previous incarnation been a restaurant with the dream-team of bad-boy chef Marco Pierre White and jockey Frankie Dettori as joint proprietors – what could possibly go wrong? But for the last four years the cellar has been filled with the all-organic wines from Villa di Geggiano, a label with tremendous history – they made the very first Chianti imported to the U.K. in 1725 by Berry Brothers & Rudd – whilst the kitchen focusses on Tuscan and classic Italian cuisine.Villa di Geggiano has five distinct areas. There is a rather chic bar…perfect for a negroni after work…an art focussed restaurant space dominated by an other-wordly turquoise tree……a comfortable looking lounge, a private dining and event space and a wonderful outside terrace where Fiona and I decided to eat and celebrate the waning power of the summer sun.But since it was Tuesday we started off at the bar for an ennervating glass of Prosecco Mani Sagge.Once settled on the terrace and after some delicate grissini and fluffy focaccia…we started on the tasting menu that had been prepared for us. Top quality burrata from Puglia was unctuously creamy, caressed by a mint and courgette sauce with a few croutons for crunchy contrast . Great ingredients stand by themselves when served simply. With the burrata we were drinking a dryish Sauvignon Meriggio Fontodi Blanc with crisp green apple notes and a nicely balanced acidity (something I aspire to).I’m a big fan of the Venetian fishermen’s dish of ‘saor’ where fish is cooked in vinegar and served with onions, raisins and pine nuts. In a take on the sweet and sour ‘saor’ this dish brought together lightly fried pickled mackerel with pickled vegetables, raisins and a dill mayonnaise creating a deliciously sophisticated take on the La Serenissima classic. The wine matching with a Pinot Grigio Livio Felluga 2017 from Friuli Colli Orientali with melon and glacé fruits on the nose was a lovely way to bring out the sweetness of the dish.Light compact gnocchi were doused in a sweet cherry tomato sauce, topped with Buffalo Mozzarella which added a lactic creaminess to the proceedings – perfect with our glass of Villa di Geggiano 2015 Chianti Classico. With well-structured tannins and a red berry flourish you could almost taste the history.A simply cooked piece of fish is all you want for your main dish within a classically constructed Italian meal. Pan-fried salmon was perfectly seared, full of flavour and served with green beans and almonds on a pea purée. The lime flavours and long finish of a Gavi di Gavi from Piemonte La Giustiniana was a sparky accompaniment.Campari Sorbet sweetened by Italian Cantaloupe melon balls was a light and refreshing conclusion to a great dinner. The green apple, peaches and melon notes of a sparkling Contero Moscato d’Asti added a celebratory feel…and I nearly forgot the smooth aged Villa di Geggiano Grappa which finished the meal and me off perfectly.Villa di Geggiano transports you out of the city in a way that is quite counterintuitive in W4. The combination of the spaces, the aesthetic and the quality of the food, wine and delightful service creates a Tuscan oasis that is really worth a visit if you’re not a local and if you are it’s a must do.