When I think of Covent Garden, classy restaurants aren't usually front of mind, so it was refreshing to discover Li Veli Winery & Bistro, a chic Italian restaurant and wine shop in the heart of Covent Garden.
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!
Li Veli Winery & Bistro specialises in the Apulian cuisine of Southern Italy, and is a joint venture between the Falvo family, owner of the Masseria Li Veli Winery in Puglia, and the Melpignano family, founder and owner of the San Domenico Hotels Group, resulting in a taste of Southern Italy in London's Covent Garden.
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.
Above: Nicola Russo, Manager at Li Veli Bistro and Chef Antonio Calò who pulled out all of the stops to ensure that we had an enjoyable experience during our visit.
Above: The fabulous starters at Li Veli Winery & Bistro. From left to right: Homemade focaccia flatbread with cherry tomatoes, nduja salami, bruschetta with tomatoes and peppers and the cheese trough featuring Gorgonzola and Asiago cheeses from Puglia.
Restaurants, Bars and food/drink pop ups and reviews
There's nothing more delicious in life than indulging in a sensational meal.