Upon arrival, a maitre d’ greets guests, creating a welcoming atmosphere. Guests have the option of dining at the informal 'Chef's Isle', a relaxed open plan area consisting of a bar and an exposed marble-fronted kitchen, or the upstairs fine dining restaurant for a more refined experience, which we opted for during our visit.
For guests seeking more exclusivity, there is also a private dining room with sleek glass sliding doors that diners can retreat to. Inside, diners will enjoy the decor, which includes a striking feature wall, which features wine bottles that are beautifully displayed over the entire expanse of the wall.
An amuse bouche of celeriac purée topped with poached confit oyster and truffle shavings served in a china oyster shell was three little mouthfuls of sensational food I’ve thought about for days.
Indulge in amazing antipasti
From the antipasti selection, we tried the octopus leg with smoked potato mousse, chicory, pesto and olives (£15) and it was an absolute coup - meaty, salty and fragrant and in stark contrast to the sea carpaccio (£18.00), which was a skilfully presented delicate arrangement of finely sliced king prawn, seabass, tuna, mackerel, marinated anchovy, octopus, cured fish roe Bottarga and caviar (£18). The remarkable antipasti selection is a prime example of where Executive Chef Kentaro Torri’s Japanese heritage shines through as he combines the finesse of Japanese cuisine with traditional Italian ingredients and techniques.
For our mains we had the Tagliolini twirled with sea urchin and Cornish crab, topped with Rapini pesto and a final flurry of herbed breadcrumbs for texture (£13-£19). This looked petite and elegant but was incredibly comforting with a rich depth of flavour. Similarly, the five-cheese ravioli with cubes of the most succulent pork cheek, a saffron sauce and shaved black truffle (£13/£18) was a luxurious and well-executed dish that I didn’t want to end.
Next we sampled one fish dish and one meat dish. The roasted monkfish with an olive tomato crust was a fabulous contrast of textures and the fish, which was cooked to opaque perfection, sat atop a silky seafood fregola (£22). Our final savoury dish was the double-cooked San Daniele pork belly (£20), which was so tender that you could cut it with a spoon. The earthy flavours of wild mushrooms and Jerusalem artichoke puréewere nothing short of sexy . And I think it’s worth saying that I’m a salt-fiend and I didn’t add it to one dish as the seasoning was perfect.
During our meal, each course was paired with wine, which was a particularly lovely touch and one that only enabled us to appreciate the flavour combinations even more. We had a stellar Soave (£9/glass) and a well-rounded Valpolicella (£10/glass). We also enjoyed a palate cleansing Limoncello that left us feeling as though we were in Sorrento than Canary Wharf!
For those who prefer beer to wine, Bella Cosa has introduced beer and food pairings, which we were assured extends far beyond Peroni and Moretti!
Dessert - the perfect ending to a great meal...
We finished our meal with a refreshing clementine carpaccio with lemon sorbet and Prosecco foam (£8.00), which was heavenly. For those seeking a lighter option, I'd recommend the 'pretty-as-a-picture' and rather innovative ‘Mont Blanc in the Snow’(£8.00), which features Chestnut, Chocolate, Hazelnut. Whatever you do, ensure you don't miss out on the deconstructed Tiramisu (£8.00) specked with little nuggets of Amaretto jelly and twigs of chocolate.
There is so much about this place that makes me happy: the staff, their attitude and passion for what they do and what they offer, the precision with which the chefs cook, while producing light-hearted, smile-inducing dishes. Our only criticism is that we wished it it were a bit busier, but that could vary depending on when you visit.
Food and drink *****
Staff attentiveness/friendliness *****
213 Marsh Wall