LONDON REVIEWS – Enoteca Rosso – Go in with high expectations and leave nothing short of satisfied

Enoteca Rosso is a charming Italian restaurant and wine bar located in Kensington, about a ten-minute walk from the High Street Kensington tube station. The atmosphere of the restaurant is unmatched; cozy but still elegant. The bare stringed lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling offer a rustic vibe while the dark colors and wooden wine racks lining the walls create an enchanting but homey feel. The restaurant offers a standard and seasonal menu that regularly changes depending on produce and time of year. It also offers an extensive specialty wine list as well as numerous cocktails to choose from. 

Upon arrival, I was immediately greeted by a friendly waiter. The whole staff was welcoming, attentive and personable. They were extremely willing to help me pick which courses to order and explained every meal to me as they served it. The bartender, or as I should call him “wine expert,” matched each dish with a specific wine and painted a picture of where in Italy the wine came from, how old it was, how it should taste and why it was the perfect match to the food on the plate. 

As I glanced over the menu, the waiters brought out what I think is the most important part of restaurant dining – the bread. There were two bread options, wheat, and black bread, accompanied by classic Italian olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Both were delicious and matched the oil and vinegar perfectly.

After looking at the menu for quite some time I could not decide what to order, so the staff chose for me. I was super excited, I love a good surprise. The first dish was off the seasonal menu. I was amazed when it was placed in front of me since the only word that registered from the waiter was “pork”. It appeared to be a small fried ball served on top of an orangey-yellow sauce topped with a cherry. Inside was shredded pork and herbs, deliciously paired together in a juicy but hearty deep-fried sphere. The cherry offered a sweet aftertaste to tie in the entire starter. That little pork ball is one of the best things I have eaten in London during my time here. 

My second dish was tomato gnocchi with basil sauce, another choice off Rosso’s seasonal menu. I was super excited about this dish. As soon as it was placed in front of me the strong aroma of basil wafted into the air. The gnocchi looked delicious, small pink pillows placed on top of a green basil sauce all coated in warm mozzarella cheese topped with basil leaves as a finishing touch. Although it looked and smelled great, it was the only dish I was not crazy about.

Given, the pork ball was a hard act to follow, but I was expecting chewy gnocchi with a rich tomato flavor. Instead, I was met with a soft ball of dough with a light tomato aftertaste. Although I was mildly disappointed, the basil sauce was outstanding. It was prominent to the dish, giving the gnocchi the “oomph” it needed to spice up my tastebuds. Everything from the color of the sauce, to the creamy basil smell and of course the taste, made the dish much better than it would have been.

The third dish that was placed in front of me was caramelized duck with balsamic vinegar and honey, paired with crunchy Scarola and sweet potato mousse. This is on Rosso’s regular menu and is a must when dining at the restaurant. Before this, I have never eaten duck in my life. I was skeptical, but it smelled and looked delicious, so I dove right in. The duck had a sweet caramelized skin with a moist inside. The sweet potato mousse was creamy and worked as the perfect match to the meat. There were a few carrots on the side of the dish, cooked just to the right time: not too crunchy but not mushy. The duck came with a “small” summer salad that the waiter described as “very healthy”. For a side salad, the bowl was huge and offered a large serving of leafy greens (including rocket), red and yellow peppers, bean sprouts and chickpeas along with some other extras thrown in. The duck and salad are enough to fill anyone up. I would recommend this dish to those who are unsure of what to order at Rosso, you will not be disappointed.

Lastly, dessert was served–the best part of any meal. I was offered three small samples of different items from the menu. The first being a strawberry and cream tart topped with fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. The crust was buttery and flaky and held the strawberry and cream mixture together without breaking when bitten into it. I believe this is crucial to enjoy any tart. The second tart was pistachio pudding. The deep green color and beautiful edible flower on top made it almost too pretty to eat. The pistachio flavor was exactly what I hoped it would be; strong and in your face. The third and final dessert sample was a chocolate chip brownie topped with banana-flavored ice cream. Chocolatey, chewy, paired with creamy ice cream, need I say more? 

If you are looking for an exceptional dining experience or an after-work drink, Enoteca Rosso is the place to go. Perfect for a cute date or a work lunch, this is a great place to bring your friends, your coworkers or even your grandma.  Enoteca Rosso is a restaurant everybody will enjoy. Go in with high expectations and leave nothing short of satisfied.

Heart London Magazine 5 Star Review:

Food: 5/5

Service: 5/5

Atmosphere: 4/5

Drink: 4/5

Decor: 4/5

Enoteca Rosso (Italian)

Address: 280 Kensington High Street, London W8 6ND

Phone Number: 07384 595191

Guest writer, Jackie