Food and wine can be a match made in heaven. But sometimes, we overlook the importance of the wine bit by the showstopper, the main contender. The reason I tend to be drawn to a restaurant to start with. Yes, I’m talking about the FOOD.
But when you go a restaurant like Toto’s in Knightsbridge and have a food and wine experience where they get it right, and I mean really right, it can offer a little reminder of how much we should be shouting about excellent wine.
But more on that later…
I was invited to try the menu at Toto’s – a contemporary Italian restaurant in Knightsbridge – after a highly anticipated reopening following their closure for two years.
A short trot along a cobbled lane off Walton Street and you’re through the doors of the Grade II listed Walton House. Here, incredibly polite and flawlessly turned out here staff greet you with smiles, and a dark, sleek cocktail bar rather seductively sets the mood.
Coats were stowed away and we were ushered to our table in the bright and airy dining room. Chairs were pulled out and napkins were refolded at every possible opportunity. So far, so good.
We studied the menu over appetisers and Prosecco, and once we’d managed to reach a decision on the enticingly varied menu, the sommelier worked his magic on planning our wine.
And that wine I’m so dying to tell you about is the 2010 Belleavista Curtefranca – a Chardonnay from Italy’s Bellavista estate.
Unlike many Chardonnays, this one doesn’t have an overpowering oak character. Instead, every sip of this Italian wine unravelled flavours of smooth vanilla and apricot. It really was like a breath of fresh air and it went absolutely perfectly with this gorgeous lobster tagliolini.
Fortunately for pasta-lovers, you can order all pasta dishes at Toto’s as both mains and starters. While, pasta is yes, a heavier starter than a traditional Italian antipasti, I couldn’t let the opportunity to try this pass me by.
It was full of tomato flavour with a good kick of chilli and garlic, and as I said, was a perfect pairing with the smooth and light white chardonnay.
BC went for the duck ragu – a blend of rich and succulent duck mixed with a comforting parpadelle. Neither dishes were ‘al dente’ which we may have preferred, but they certainly dazzled the taste buds with their flavour.
As I said, they really favour choice at Toto’s which makes the ordering bit particularly difficult. So these dishes join a long and tantalising list of at least 10 variations of pastas and rice. And they seem to get more and more decadent as you go down the list. Black truffle risotto or saffron risotto with bone marrow are just some of the showstoppers that’ll no doubt, send you into an ordering kerfuffle.
Guests are then presented with various veal creations such as Veal Milanese and Toto’s cotoletta (breaded veal). A list of charcoal grill dishes including baby chicken, seafood and more veal then entice.
Ever-carnivorous BC had the beef tagliata – strips of charcoal-grilled beef with rocket and parmesan shavings with a balsamic dressing – which was pretty well cooked and oozed the simple, yet delicious flavours I so love about Italian cooking.
I then plumped for the wild line caught seabass which impressed me no end with its flavour and presentation. Those salty and juicy capers contrasted perfectly with the buttery soft fish and perfect crisp skin. Absolute bliss. I could eat this dish again and again.
My sommelier friend popped back to see if we wanted to try a new wine. And I enthusiastically asked for ‘more of the same’.
A delightful hot chocolate and gianduia tortino with amaretto ice cream and rather lovely tiramisu put the cherry on the cake of a fabulous and inventive meal.
The tiramisu wasn’t as boozy or espresso-filled as I would have liked. But its creaminess and giant button-like chocolates that were placed over the top of both sweets made them truly satisfying.
Plus, the wine, that wine. Oh that made me very happy indeed.
Until next time x
Toto’s restaurant, Walton House, Lennox Garden Mews, off Walton Street, London SW3 2JH
Oh So London was a guest of Toto’s restaurant but all views are my own. If you’ve been to Toto’s and want to share your views, please leave a comment below.