What: A wine bar cum restaurant in West London. Its USP is its access to high-quality Italian wines, with products sourced directly from winemakers in most cases. An enoteca is about as close as the Italians come to a pub. In Italy they usually only serve cold food but in common with other London enotecas - including Enoteca Turi, Enoteca Super Tuscan and mini-chain Enoteca da Luca - Enoteca Rosso has a wide-ranging Italian menu.
Who: A consortium of mainly Italian investors. Over a dozen people have clubbed together to bring a version of well-known Milanese enoteca Il Cinghiale Rosso Milan to Kensington High Street. While they do want to attract non-Italians, the restaurant is designed to be a home-from-home for the investors and other Italian expats. Front of house is run by Claudio Gelmini, owner of Il Cinghiale Rosso, and the head chef is Flavio Militello, who has worked at a number of high-end restaurants in Italy including Milan’s Felix Lo Basso. It’s his first time in charge of a kitchen.
The vibe: The 70-cover restaurant is strikingly modern with a mix of communal and private tables and a large open bar with counter seating. Much of the restaurant’s wine is stored in attractive terracotta wine racks that line the walls. There is a downstairs private dining room for 10 named The Vault as homage to the site’s previous incarnation as a bank.
The food: In common with its (almost) namesake in Milan, the restaurant specialises in platters of high-quality Italian meats and cheeses. The current menu includes ravioli filled with broccoli, ricotta, sausage crumbles, garlic and fresh chillies; and slow-cooked pork fillet, chestnuts, pumpkin crisps and grilled polenta. The restaurant serves food from across Italy but each month it offers a tasting menu centred around a particular region and its wines.
And another thing: Cutting out the middleman allows Enoteca Rosso to offer hard-to-find wines at good value prices. Indeed, some of the prices are closer to retail than what one would normally pay in a restaurant.