Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Lunch at Latium, Berners Street

Out to lunch with one of my former Personal Assistants on Friday for a not quite Valentine's day lunch.  In fact T (who is an American but still appreciates good food) was the first person I ever took to what is my favourite restaurant in London.  We first went there, rather shockingly, back in 2008 at the suggestion of my sister who had been looking for somewhere to provide some absorbent food following an evening of cocktails at the trendy Sanderson Hotel across the road.  When T and I went there first we had been expecting an old-style trattoria, not the stylish modern interior it actually possesses (no straw covered Chianti bottles here). 

Great Grappa selection

Owner-chef Maurizio Morelli is from Lazio and imports many of his ingredients direct from Rome. He specialises in ravioli which are as to the tinned stuff I had to endure when I was small as a Saturn V is to a November 5th rocket.  This really is one of the very best Italian restaurants in London and all the more remarkable because the lunchtime fixed price menu is so reasonable; at just £16.50 for two courses.

For a first course, T had Mozzarella di buffala con pomodorini, zucchini grigliate e basilico.  She said she had never been served the whole unsliced cheese before, but said it was the best Mozzarella she had ever tasted.  The cheese at Latium is never short of sensational.

The Legatus had Bresaola ruccola e Parmigiano regiano.  I spent a lot of time in Italy in the late eighties and early nineties and was introduced to this dish on my first business trip to Rome in about 1984.  I had never had Bresaola and it took me some time to find out that ruccola was called rocket in Britain (neither of which which you could easily get at home then).  Now of course you can get both in any supermarket, although not such meltingly delicious Bresaola as this, ruccola without a trace of bitterness and Parmigiano which is delicate and moist not dry and brittle. High quality  ingredients make high quality food, however simple!

Now the Legatus had given T a taste for Gavi di Gavi, as mentioned in my Poulet Marengo piece, over the years but we had one there which I hadn't had before: Masseria di Carmelitani 2014.  The first 2014 I have had since Beaujolais Nouveau it was crisp, fruity but not cloyingly so, with some mineral like backbone.  Remarkably good for such a new wine.  Unfortunately, it was so good we drank two bottles at £40 a time, thereby negating the good value of the food!

For her main course T had polletto alla griglia con aglio peperoncino e spinaci.  It had none of the stringiness you can get with baby chicken and, fortunately, the garlic was not overpowering either!

I had rigatoni con ragù di agnello e Pecorino.  The pasta is always perfectly cooked here and the sauce always avoids being too liquid but clings to the pasta in what is almost culinary engineering, not just cooking.

We got through three glasses of Grappa afterwards (well, alright, I had two and she had one).  Latium has an excellent selection of top Grappas and Italin liqueurs and this one was a Vuisinâr from my favourite distillery, Nonino.  Its three year ageing in cherry wood barrels gives it a lovely pale gold colour.   So total spend on food £33 and alcohol £113, which is about the right balance for a meal!

I have not only never had a bad meal in Latium I have never had a bad course or a bad wine.  It really is faultless 10/10.

1 comment:

  1. Really looks quite good. I will have to try the Gavi, I have not had it before.