Like many here in London (and elsewhere), I am thoroughly enjoying using Zomato to review the food and drink I enjoy across the city. I love to try new restaurants and bars and love the quick and easy way I can review on the hoof with the app. From time to time I like to do a longer restaurant review here - today being a case in point - but I do love the ability the app gives me to review all the places I visit. There are so many things you can do in addition to blogging on a primary blog now - guest posts, podcasts, social media, reviewing....
Last week the good folks of Zomato invited me along to my first #ZomatoMeetup - these events connect reviewers, brands and bloggers over the shared delight that is good food. I headed along to Gatti's, in their new location in the City Point complex near Moorgate, for an Italian feast. And a feast it certainly was - I think I'm still full!
When I arrived at the restaurant, I must confess to being a little confused. When you enter you are greeted by a very smart bar space...but only a few tables. As I stashed my coat in the cloakroom I was wondering...where's the rest of the restaurant? Turns out I needn't have worried - there are some tables and a fab looking private room on the ground floor, but the restaurant proper is on the lower level, a big comfortable space of rich reds and golds, with banquettes around the perimeter and another bar. Because of course.
On arrival we were greeted with chilled glasses of Veuve Clicquot and blinis topped with smoked salmon and mascarpone, or lobster and avocado. After doing the helloes we all trooped downstairs to enjoy the meal proper.
To start we enjoyed a selection of bruschette - roasted cherry tomatoes, porcini mushrooms and parma ham and artichoke. They are all tasty, but my top choice would be the porcini mushrooms, so garlicky and chewy. They were so delightful we even managed to convince those on our table who don't eat mushrooms to have a try.
Following that we had a pasta course, which was one of the highlights of the meal for me. The dish was rigatoni with an organic tomato sauce and fresh basil, and it hit every spot. The pasta was perfectly al dente, the sauce sweet and rich, and the ingredients shone through beautifully. I always think it's impressive when a kitchen can roll out a showstopping simple dish; with just a few ingredients you have nowhere to hide!
The next course was sea bass, which had been baked whole in a salt crust. This was served with vegetables and a parsley sauce. I found this dish quite enjoyable, but too salty for my palate after the baked in salt crust - I can think of several friends who would love it, but for me the saltiness was a little much (I'm not the biggest fan of salty flavours). The others on my table really liked it and one of the delights of set menus is you get to sample dishes you might never give a second glance otherwise.
Believe or not, we were not done.
After a lovely dish of lemon-prosecco sorbet, it was time for the Costata di Manzo arrosto, roasted rib of beef with all the trimmings. This was spectacular, cooked to that brilliant point where the meat is cooked through but still pink, and served with potatoes, seasonal vegetables, a delicious gracy and (to my delight) Yorkshire puddings! I thoroughly enjoyed this whole course, and the Yorkshires are some of the best I've had in London - crisp and deep brown on the outside, fluffy and absorbent on the inside.
By this point I was so full (in a very, very pleasant way!) that the stairs back up to the exit were starting to feel like a potential challenge, as rolling home might be the only option left available to me! With just one course left to go, I was almost beaten. The puddings were brought out and looked delicious, and I managed a small bite of each...the cheesecake was good but the base was a little grainy for me, the tiramisu was creamy and light, the profiterole was lovely, but my favourite by a good way was the delightful panna cotta. This is not usually a favourite of mine, but this was silky and satisfying, with winter berries adding a burst of sweetness to proceedings.
Throughout the meal we had sampled two lovely Italian wines, and to finish we concluded with a frosty glass of limoncello. The service was charming and swift and the team clearly love the company and what it stands for - they are very proud of their brand.
I left full, happy, and probably several pounds heavier. Such a delightful meal.