Modelled after the same restaurant in New York City, Cucina Aselina is now part of a luxuriously edgy five star establishment in Aldwych.
Housed in the ME hotel, the ethos to the restaurant is evidently a portrait of contemporary Italy and our guess was that the clientele they catered to were just as savvy. Without being overtly fine dining-esque or old fashioned, a nod to an understated elegance still remain from the service right down to the hallmark stone ovens they use to prepare home made pizzas and breads.
A quick tip toeing through the glossy reception floor saw us being drawn closer to the warm glow of candles at the other end of the hallway. It led us through an emphasis of abstract decor and before long we were stood amidst a grand dining hall washed with filters of amber and gold. This was a complete transformation (and a much nicer transformation) to the bitter winter’s night outside.
money faith in the Italian waiter’s charm and wisdom, we believed in his every word: you don’t need to be on a diet, darling try everything , tortellini and tortelloni exists beyond a parallel universe. OK LET’S EAT.
Frutti di Bosco e Sambuco Mixed Berries, Elderflower Cordial, Pomegranate Juice
So refreshing and fruity, I ordered this repeatedly for the whole night and ignored the cosmo.
Home made bread sticks and crispy sheets
Buffalo Mozzarella, Artichokes, Organic Peppers, Olives
Stuffed Cerignola Olives, Roasted Veal, Parmigiano, Semolina Crust
The centre piece of our starter was Buffalo Mozzarella, a soft ball of cheese so delicate that it almost tasted of nothing at all. You’ll notice the subtle sweetness and gooey richness when sliced and served up by itself or swept up with a slice of crisp bread topped with marinated peppers and artichoke. I can go on about this all day, no wonder restaurants have dedicated their entire menus around this beautiful delicacy of southern Italy (click).
The stuffed olives were another great starter, seemingly effortless to prepare but one bite will have you guessing at all the different textures stuffed in the semolina crust.
Crab & marscarpone tortelloni, pink peppercorns, prawns & lobster bisque
Semolina gnocchi, Umbrian sausages, wild mushrooms, saffron, tomato & pecorino
Some experiences are better when shared, true, but others you’d rather keep to yourself. Take the crab tortelloni for example, it is the perfect reason to steal bites right from underneath your friend’s nose. I gawked at the al dente pasta with plentiful bites of shredded crab on the inside and thick pieces of prawn and lobster in the bisque. It’s a dish with body, sensuality and plenty of personality, the same could be said of a dangerous woman.
The semolina gnocchi was equally well made, although not as breathtaking as the crab bisque but nonetheless filling for my friend, I compare it to a fancy version of Bolognese.
Tiramisu, roasted hazelnuts, amaretto ice cream
Lemon & almond cake, roasted figs
Manually overriding all signals from our brain to stop eating, we continued with our final course, there’s always room for desserts. The Tiramisu felt light as air with intense chocolate and coffee flavours, how did they know I love everything in leopard print! The added touch made me fall in love with the dessert that much more.
The lemon cake was moist and tasted like marzipan, but you’ve got to like figs for this one to work otherwise it’s slightly wasteful to leave the huge pieces behind.
Trusting the waiter was the best thing to ever happen to us on the night. The final bill came up to £45 per person including drinks, not bad considering how much we ate and how happy we felt. Good news it’s even cheaper when Booktable offers £25 for set menu (click)
Ambiance & Decor: 10/10