With an impressively extensive wine list of over 150 Italian wines to taste by the glass, Enoteca Rabezzana is a place for connoisseurs. Wines line the walls, bar and – most delightfully – ceiling of this new wood-furnished wine bar, which has all the relaxed refinement of a natural Italian institution: long sharing benches stand alongside more intimate tables for two, wines are mapped by region on a chalk-drawn map of Italy and cured meat hangs haphazardly from the corner beside the open kitchen.
In true Italian spirit we start with an Aperol Spritz aperitif before turning to the menu, divided into ‘bar snacks’, ‘sharing platters’, ‘Italian tapas’, ‘mains’ and ‘dessert’. The 'specials' menu changes weekly.
The former sections are laden with traditional offerings of cheese, cured meats, olives and homemade bread to accompany the wines. The ‘tapas’ section of the menu is black truffle-heavy, but any concerns about the prevalence of this opulent ingredient vanish as our small plates arrive. Not over-fussed or ostentatious, the specials' offering of poached egg with saffron fondue and shaved black truffle is an absolute triumph. The beef carpaccio, again served with black truffle shavings, is decadently rich and salty with creamy notes of truffle that tantalise and linger on.
The waiting staff are attentive, helpful and well-informed, ready and willing to make suggestions for wine-flavour pairings for each course; a crisp alpine white sourced from a smaller regional producer of northern Trentino is a highlight, but all were cleverly chosen.
Our smaller plates were followed up by a special Tagliolini with prawn and toasted almond and a medium rare filet steak with gorgonzola sauce. The pasta comes served a perfect al dente, the creamy sauce offset by fresh herbs with grounding notes of almond: a joy to eat and some of the best pasta we’ve had in London for a long time. The second dish pays due tribute to the germanic influence in Northern Italian cuisine, with a rich sauce that simply oozes flavour: indulgence at its best.
For dessert we opt for the sampler plate, featuring mini tiramisu, cannoli, tortelli stuffed with pecorino cheese and finished off with lemon zest and honey and chocolate soufflé, charmingly presented in a piccolo espresso cup: a skilfully made and delicious assortment. Following the recommendation of our waiter, we enjoyed a sweet fortified Barolo with it, a sophisticated dessert wine with spicy notes of cinnamon and clove that we can’t recommend enough.
Enoteca Rabezzana beautifully showcases a regional Italian cuisine which usually goes relatively neglected among Italian restaurants in London. In both ambiance and culinary offerings, it treads the line between relaxed and refined as only the most authentic Italian restaurants can. A wine bar, wine merchant and fine dining restaurant in its own right, Enoteca Rabezzana deserves to become a frequent watering hole for wine connoisseurs and Italian food enthusiasts alike.
|What||Enoteca Rabezzana, Barbican|
|Where||Enoteca Rabezzana, 62-63 Long Lane, London, EC1A 9EJ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|