It’s great when your friends work close by as it means you can fit in great catch-up lunches even when your both super busy. I recently met my friend at Enoteca Rabezzana which is located on Long Ln, opposite Smithfield Market.
Like your Italian wine? This restaurant and wine bar offers authentic Italian food with the possibility to sample over 150 wines by the glass. Yes, you heard it right, due to the acquisition of Coravin preservation system, the restaurant and wine bar can extract the wine from the bottle without removing the cork, therefore without spoiling the wine. Amazing right!?
Enoteca Rabezzana has recently undergone a refurbishment: with dark walls and bottles of wine stacked high against them there is still a bright and airy feel with a wonderfully mismatched tile floor.
Italian tapas is on offer from Head Chef Luca Cabrini alongside traditional Italian classics. We were here to sample a set lunch menu featuring a weekly selection of regional specialities from all corners of Italy. The menu is available Monday to Friday and is incredibly good value at £10 for 1 course and £15 for 2 – that includes bottled water, a glass of wine and coffee.
Although a compact menu (a choice of 3 for starters and 5 for mains) it wasn’t an easy task to decide what to order. Sometimes a set menu can be the dribs and drabs of the main menu and be rather uninspiring, but that’s not the case at Enoteca Rabezzana. Whilst deciding our game plan for the menu (there is always a game plan) warm focaccia was delivered to the table, simply seasoned with sea salt and rosemary.
To begin we ordered the buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad, always a firm favourite, together with a broad bean purée with chilli turnip sprouts. We loved this dish: rich, bitter-sweet and perfect to mop up with your focaccia if you managed to save any.
Next up was a saffron risotto with Italian sausage and sea bass cooked in wine with pine nuts and olives served with new potatoes. The risotto was creamy and had a great depth of flavour from the saffron, we actually struggled to finish it off as the portion was so generous! The sea bass, light and cooked perfectly, was perhaps the more sensible dish to order seeing as an afternoon of meetings lay ahead!
Rather full we opted to share a dessert – little hot parcels filled with ricotta and drizzled with honey. Cheese and honey is always a winner in my book.
With over 150 Italian wines available to try, wine lovers should be kept very happy with the selection. Ask the knowledgeable staff for recommendations, if like me you’re a bit of a novice; they’ll be happy to help. And with their clever preservation system, you can try as many different glasses of wine as you like (perhaps not advisable at lunch!).
I think the lunch set menu is great value and offers good Italian and with a pretty epic wine menu. It was quiet when we were there so it could be a great shout for a working lunch. It would also be a fab place for an after work drink and it is perfectly located for pre or post Barbican food and drink.
*I was invited to review Enoteca Rabezzana. All views remain my own.