Li Veli specialises in traditional wine and food from the Southern region of Puglia, a destination that is on my must-visit travel list. Given that I'm obsessed with all things Italian (and have visited Italy 10 times in the past eight years, it's amazing that I haven't yet discovered the joys of Puglia, but for the time being, I had to settle for travelling vicariously through Li Veli.
My friend and I (see my glamorous wine afficando friend below), had the pleasure of visiting Li Veli on a dreary Tuesday evening. Despite it being the beginning of the work week, we were surprised to discover that the restaurant was buzzing. That being said, I assume that word travels fast when one finds somewhere fabulous!
All of the dishes at Li Veli are authentic Pugliese dishes accompanied by Li Veli’s award-winning wines. Before our meal, we had the opportunity to peruse the extensive wine offering in Li Veli's wine shop and of course, we couldn't resist sampling a few of the sensational wines, which we enjoyed both before and during our meal. As one would expect, the wine list was extensive and boasted a number of superb wines, many of which are refreshingly available by the glass, so I'd recommend enjoying a few during your visit, if possible.
Stand out wines included the Colesel Noai Brut Prosecco n.v. (Veneto) (£7.95), a delicate straw yellow Prosecco; Li Veli Montococo 2011 (£9-£11), an intense ruby red wine with flavours of red and black berries and a spicy finish; and the Li Veli “Askos” Verdeca 2013 (Puglia)( £8.00-£10.00), an intense and fruity white with good acidity.
The dining experience...
Service was warm and efficient, yet relaxed, which made for a lovely experience. The manager, Nicola Russo talked us through each wine and dish during our visit, so we left with a wealth of knowledge on Puglian wines and cuisine!
For our starters, we enjoyed the bruschetta and the cheeseboard, both of which were enjoyable, however, the cheeseboard was the most impressive of the two.
For our mains, we enjoyed the lamb, which was so succulent it literally fell of the bone, and the sea bass with capers and roasted tomatoes, which was perfectly cooked and had a nice balance of flavours. For our side, we shared the mixed vegetables drizzled in olive oil, which was the perfect accompaniment to our mains, given that it wasn't too heavy. Dessert was a hot chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream, which was utlra indulgent (and to be honest not necessary after our hearty meal!
Overall, Li Veli is a great place to visit if you're looking for a laidback environment, delicious cuisine and somewhere great to buy wine for your more discerning friends and family members.
Our experience overall
Food and drink: ★★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★★★
Li Veli Winery & Bistro
69 Long Acre
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