Review – Bella Cosa, Canary Wharf where Italy meets Japan
213, Marsh Wall
What’s On Offer
Italian with Japanese influences there is a choice of fine dining, set menu, a-la-carte, private dining and wine room in a contemporary setting with views over the waterways.
Who Is Heading Up The Kitchen
Chef Kentaro Torii may hail from Japan but his heart belongs to Italy. Trained in Michelin kitchens he combines his creative flair with seasonal ingredients to produce some stunning dishes. Awarded GVCI (Gruppo Virtuale Cuochi Italiani) Chef of the Year in 2012 Chef Kentaro is one to keep your eye on.
What I Ate
I attended a 5 course dinner in one of the private dining rooms. A fantastic range of wines on display in the glass cabinets along one wall of the room added to the elegance of our modern and stylish room.
Scallop served with Cannellini Puree, Truffle, Lardo (yum!) & Olive Oil Powder. The scallop was cooked a perfect translucent and the olive oil powder added texture to this predominantly soft appetiser. Personally I could’ve eaten several of these, this dish was one of my favourites.
Sea Carpaccio was a selection of thinly sliced Cured Seafood with Oscietra caviar & Lemon Puree. Extremely fresh and well prepared, I loved the little bursts of the roe as I bit into them. A nice and varied selection of seafood rather than just a single cured fish which is prevalent in the majority of this type of carpaccio dish I’ve tried.
5 Cheese Ravioli Mezzelune (half moons) with Saffron Sauce, Iberian Pork Cheek, Beetroot Puree & Winter Black Truffle. Handmade pasta with a generous portion of the filling means you can actually taste the cheeses inside. Paired with the meaty pork cheek it was my second favourite dish of the evening elevated with the inclusion of the light yet fragrant saffron sauce.
Main Course – Pesce
For the main course there was a choice of Pork Belly or Dover Sole. Trying to be more health-conscious I opted for the fish. Served with Cauliflower Puree, Winter Vegetables & Bergamot Coulis it was well seasoned and the fish cooked perfectly. Whilst I enjoyed it I did have a bit of food envy as the majority of my fellow diners had chosen the Pork and it was good!
A dish of White Chocolate, Strawberries & Green Tea. With a base of light and fluffy white chocolate this was a nice way to end our Italy meets Japan journey. The macerated strawberries were divine, the green tea powder gave a nice texture without over-whelming and the sorbet was refreshing. As regular readers will know I don’t normally do desserts, one bite and I’m done – this is the first dessert plate I’ve cleared in a long while and that’s saying something!
I tried a selection of wines from the well-stocked cellar. Our evening started with a glass of Rosamaro Brut from Altemura , Puglia with hints of apple and red berries it was a fruity and smooth aperitif. Pecorino Bio from Abruzzo, was crisp and fresh, a good match for seafood. Verdicchio dei Casteli diJesi, Classico Superiore, Marche, Marchetti considered by some to be a thinking person’s Pinot Grigio, this wine is free-run (no pressing) and is typically citrus with complex minerality it is an easy-drinking table wine and goes well with fish. Merlot, Friuli, Colutta , fruity with a hint of spice this matches nicely with richer meats without being overpowering, my favourite of the night. Of course no Italian meal is complete without a little Limoncello to cleanse the palate and aid digestion. Let me tell you about my latest discovery, it’s called Staibano. Not heard of it? I’m not surprised, it is hard to find in the UK but it CAN be found and is well worth seeking out – think of another famous creamy liqueur but lemony. Needless to say, sipping one glass of this delicious drink was not enough, I had two……
Who’s It For?
With 2 levels to choose from, each with their own identity, there is something for everyone. On the ground floor it is a more casual affair with a menu of classic Italian dishes to choose from including sharing plates, pastas and pizza or you could sit in the atrium and order up some bar snacks to accompany your cocktail. Alternatively there is the more formal fine dining upstairs, great for entertaining business clients or for that special occasion. Either way it is in a prime location for locals and easily accessible (4 min walk) via the Docklands Light Railway.