Celebrity chef Enzo Oliveri has opened a new restaurant in the centre of Piccadilly and the host has not failed to deliver what he is known for; bringing the best of Italian wine and food producers together for an explosive take on an often overdone cuisine.
Holding a taster evening at his new restaurant, Tasting Sicily Enzo's Kitchen in Panton Street on October 1, chef Oliveri presented his food and matched it to wines from a famous Italian wine producer, Tenuta Cuffaro, in the hopes of introducing him to the English high-end catering market.
I’m no wine expert (luckily I was sat next to one) but I could tell that the vino we tried which will be sold at the restaurant has a place in any luxury culinary experience and almost definitely in Bacchus’ glass.
A mixture of sparkling, white and reds touched every nook and cranny of the room’s taste pallets and allowed all in attendance to forgive the wine producer for his long winded, detailed rant on the history of Italian wine.
In Italian, I must add, and translated by mystified chef Oliveri.
Upon entry, every guest was given a glass of the ‘Lele’ sparkling rosé wine.
This was perfectly married with a number of hors d'oeuvre , including the best arancini I have ever tasted, marinated sardines on bruschetta and a chickpea soft bread.
After being seated guests were treated to their first glass of wine.
A white which was met with praise by my neighbour for the evening, presumably this means it was good.
Then the starter came, a plate of three different vegetable medleys which could have been served to Julius Caesar himself.
The mixture of hot and cold foods worked perfectly, with each dish accompanied by a dollop of its own exquisite sauce.
Upon eating, I quickly realised this was not food to be reviewed, rather food to idolise, food to bring one’s own best efforts to shame and make one realise how the best dish they could conceivably cook would seem like cat’s food next to chef Oliveri’s creation.
The second starter was a pasta dish separated into two parts; one mixed with the chef's own brand of pesto which can be bought online and in the restaurant.
Well, my partner’s reaction need not be exaggerated, but I never knew food had the ability to make someone almost well up.
“What have I been eating my whole life,” she protested as the simple pesto with fusilli led her to understand what such a simple dish could actually taste like.
The pastas were served with my favourite wine of the evening, a subtle Chardonnay that even a novice could tell was a delectable way to consume alcohol.
For the main, there was a lemon sole croquette and a large tiger prawn with a salad.
This was followed by a trio of desserts, cannolini con ricotta, cassata siciliana and bigne’ al pistacchio, and the first glass of red.
What more can be said about Enzo’s food?
It appeared too simplistic at first, but it was the kind of food that you think only Gods on great mountains have the luxury of enjoying.
It empowered you, cushioning your seat with a false sense of divine status.
It even forced you to pity the meagre rations you have consumed all meals previous.
Not willing to sit and enjoy the evening himself, the chef was helping the waiters and waitresses deliver dishes, take away dirty plates, pour glasses of wine and make sure everyone was enjoying themselves.
Keen to see what the idol behind it all made of the evening, I asked him if he was in fact enjoying himself.
“When I see empty plates, I am enjoying myself,” he replied.
Tasting Sicily Enzo's Kitchen
Price: Free as it was a taster evening
Address: 38 Panton St, SW1Y 4EA
Telephone: 020 7839 5142
Dress code: Smart code