The heart & soul of Southern Italian cuisine at Li Veli

 

It’s not often I find myself eating Italian cuisine outside of Italy, especially after being so spoilt on my last trip back in September and literally drooling over every dish put in front of me. However when I was asked to come in and review this duo-family-run bistro in the heart of Covent Garden (and after stalking the menu) I decided that it was time to change my views and take a little risk 😉

So here it goes…

I invited my foodie partner in crime, Brucine from Citylicious to get involved, who happens to also be mad about food and a person who never gets annoyed at the billion and one pictures taken before, during and after eating.

Well, as Miss Foodie Diaries herself would say – the camera always eats first!

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The restaurant itself is well lit and really spacious. A creamy, white filled interior with wall to wall displays of wine bottles, olive oils and Italian delicacies. There is also a compfy fire place which makes the space just that little bit cosier. Essential for those winter months!

I was greeted by our lovely waitress for the evening by the name of Cosmara who showed me to the table and bought over a wonderful glass of bubbling happiness. Im talking about the Prosecco of course.

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Once Brucine had arrived, Cosmara recommended and managed to convince us that the wine and food pairing menu was the way to go (I can tell you it hardly took that much convincing), with a taste of everything from their array of rustic contemporary dishes.

This menu is £45.00 per person and consists of 5 dishes, with the main beef fillet being shared between two people.

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To start we had the Fava beans with Cicoria. Basically this is broad beans mashed with a plate of greens, a slice of crusty bread and the most flavoursome sun dried tomatoes I have wrapped my lips around in a long time.

The wine that was matched was a white medium: Liveli Fiano

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Next on the agenda we have the Burrata Cheese with Cardoncelli mushrooms and extra crispy capocollo meat which was incredible moorish, with a very intense flavour. The cheese was most surprising. Lighter than mozzarella and polished off far quicker than I had expected.

Wine to match: Dry white Verdeca (Liveli)

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For the mains, we were given the organic home made Orechietta pasta (you know the pretty shell shaped ones) covered in lashings of cacioricotta cheese and a sweet cherry tomato sauce, topped with some fresh basil in traditional Italian style. A real minimalistic, simple dish but with maximum flavour and a longing taste of wanting more and more.

Wine to match: Red Sussumanieup

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At was at that point of the evening that I was starting to feel like the hole in my stomach was getting rather full to the brim but not quite as far as that uncomfortable, I cant move kinda feeling, so when the next main came out on a large charcoal stone plate, I was semi relieved to be sharing it with B! I had forgotten just how filling Italian food can really be.

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Nicely cut, juicy tender pieces of beef fillet were lined diagonally across the plate and surrounded by crunchy glazed roast potatoes, chicory and little dusted with sea salt. You could really taste the saltiness in the meat, it was beautifully cooked to perfection with a faded pink colour appearing through the textures (just the way I like it – none of this well done business!)

Wine to match: Red Masseria Liveli 2011 (this wine was a right beauty and so much so that I had to purchase a bottle at the end of the night)

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Last but not least, we we treated to their signature dessert consisting of homemade pistachio ice cream which was drizzled in extra virgin olive oil. Yes you heard me right. Sounds rather odd combining the two but I kid you not, the flavours are thankfully very amazing. We had a dessert wine of Aleatico Passito 2008 and even though I am not a huge lover of a sweet vino, this was pretty damn good and seemed to work really well with the pudding.

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Im really quite impressed with the quality of the food, the service and the extensive knowledge of their award winning wines on offer. This really is a great place to dine in the West End, even if you want to pop in for a wine and some cheese or a pre-theatre dinner. Its worth a visit whatever your preference! 

 

Address: 69 Long Acre, London WC2E 9JS
Phone: 020 7240 8163
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