I’m Italian so when it comes to Italian food in London I am extremely demanding.
You know, I was used to be pampered by my mom, my granny and my aunt’s excellent cuisine. I know the ingredients, I know how a perfectly balanced but explosive combination of Italian flavours should be. I am passionate about Italian food and I really can’t settle for anything less than perfect.
That said, I honestly never had the pleasure to eat at a Michelin-starred chef’s restaurant. Imagine how excited I was when my friend Sunny in London invited me and Catherine for a dinner at a very special restaurant.
It’s called Stelle di Stelle and it’s a pop up restaurant opened last Autumn inside Harrods. What makes it a one of a kind place to have a dinner it’s the fact that it’s a 13 stars restaurant. Yes: I said 13 and it’s not a mistake 🙂 Every month a new Italian Michelin-starred chef, coming from one of the 5 best restaurants around Italy, takes the residency. Their Michelin stars counted together make a total of 13, which is pretty amazing.
The restaurant is situated on the lower ground floor of Harrods and it’s an oasis of sparkling glamour, it doesn’t seem to be inside Harrods at all. Bricks and glass, black and white, Stelle di Stelle is a lovely balance of interior design that makes it look effortlessly elegant.
This time it was the turn of Giorgio Pinchiorri and Annie Felode from Enoteca Pinchiorri, in Florence. My expectations were really high.
We kicked off the dinner with some delicious Prosecco snacking on olives, Parmigiano cheese and Parma ham. It started to feel like home! Then we were presented the appetizer, the Chestnut mousse, pancetta, pine nuts and rosemary. I found it slightly too ‘creamy’, I would have loved to feel more of the chestnut flavour, but it was the lightest mousse I have ever tasted.
And isn’t it beautiful?
Let me spend a word about drinks. Pinchiorri’s wine cellar is considered one of the best in the world with 145,000 bottles on offer. Each plate on this menu had its own wine paired, and each of them was beyond amazing. The Chestnut mousse came with the Ferrari Maximum Brut Trento Doc. I am a wine lover so imagine how happy I was.
Enoteca Pinchiorri proposed a six-course menu and here’s what was waiting to turn our tastebuds on next: Octopus cooked in olive oil with pumpkin cream, coffee pearls and watercress sprouts. Since I don’t eat fish (no, I’m not vegetarian) I had a yummy veggie option with roasted asparagus and fennel instead of the octopus. Fresh, crispy and delicious.
Next, the plate we all loved the most. Simple flavours, yet incredibly combined: Poached egg with Alba white truffle and Grana Padano cheese fondue. Everything was perfect in this plate: the presentation the softness of the egg, perfectly cooked, the slices of truffle, melting in your mouth.
For every new plate a new delicious wine was paired and soon our table was a feast of glasses. Just to mention a few: Rosso di Montalcino Doc San Polo 2012, Poggio Al Tesoro Mediterra IGT Toscana 2011 and a beer too: Birra Moretti La Rossa. How could we complain?
Next came the pasta! No proper Italian dinner can miss a good pasta. Fusilli ‘al ferretto’ with artichokes, scampi and liquorice powder were delicious. The texture of the pasta was perfect for the sauce: rough yet delicate, and the liquorice spiced everything up. I had the vegetarian version without scampi and I loved it.
Last but not least, after a very good Rack of lamb topped with garlic and thyme, with polenta and cavolo nero, came the dessert. It was Bread, chocolate, oil and salt, but it was actually a chocolate mousse covered in hard dark chocolate with oilve oil bread on bottom and an olive oil ‘candy’ on top. I am not a big fan of creams, so the mousse never excite me much, but the combination chocolate-olive oil is really interesting and truly good.
It was a great dining experience. I really enjoyed trying a Michelin starred chef cuisine for the first time. For my personal taste, I found the menu a balance of ‘fresher’ plates and more ‘creamy’, intense ones, and I definitely liked the first ones a bit more, but I couldn’t complain at all about the quality of the ingredients and the cooking style: both perfect.
It was such a delicious evening, we really enjoyed Pinchiorri’s meal AND the wine offered. It was like having a great food experience paired with an excellent wine tasting, which made the night absolutely great.
Do you want to try Stelle di Stelle? January chef will be another A-list Italian food master: Enrico Crippa.
To book a table, call 020 7893 8700 and for more info visit Harrods.