Last night, I was royally treated along with sixteen other food bloggers from Zomato to a night out at Evoluzione at Hotel Xenia.
We were warmly greeted by the team at Hotel Xenia and given a choice of welcome drinks at the bar.
Meanwhile we were serenaded by a pianist at this lovely transparent piano that also has a tablet allowing beautiful music to play at all hours for the pleasure of the guests and visitors.
It is a shame this piano is in the corner - so lovely.
At the bar, our bartender was making delicious and refreshing cocktails with a sprig of rosemary.
As beautiful as the cocktail looked, I found it a bit too bitter for my tastes but others were requesting seconds and giving it high praise.
|Yours Truly, Her Fav Food & Matt The List|
After a warm welcome from the duty manager we were ushered into the restaurant for our six course interactive dining experience.
I was delighted to sit down with fellow bloggers - The Halal Food Diaries, Her Fav Food & Thoroughly English.
You might be asking yourself what an "interactive" dining experience entails. Good question!
Michelin Star Italian Chef, Andrea Angeletti, was on hand to demonstrate and explain each dish before they were presented by the wait staff. You can imagine the excitement that a group of bloggers would have at this opportunity to witness this lovely chef up close and personal. Shutterbugs were a flurry.
First up, Chef Angeletti made a "self shaken zest" which were delivered to the tables in little shaker bowls.
As you can imagine - the food paparazzi were in rapture. :)
A glass of Lyricus, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, was offered to compliment the course.
This was probably my favourite wine of the evening and was decidedly dry and crisp - quite refreshing and a perfect pairing with the "Ying Yang Salmon" that was served.
The salmon was perfectly cooked - on one side only - o so tender and melted in the mouth.
Remember those "self shaken zest" bowls? Well after Chef Angeletti's presentation and all the pics were taken of the salmon, we were instructed to shake our zest and use it as a marinade for the dish. I had a little too much fun perhaps with the shaker? Hehe. Who doesn't love getting involved with the preparation of their meal? :D
A choice of Italian bread was also provided to accommodate the salmon.
Next up... Cheese Bread with King Prawn and Pecorino Sauce. The recipe was his grandma's and the sauce was so smooth and rich (I wanted a spoon to lick up the remaining sauce) and as Her Fav Food said, it could easily have been a pudding.
Dishes were whisked away and a glass of Vignaiolo Fanti was provided to compliment the main course.
Chef Angeletti told us that cannelloni needs to be eaten with one's fingers. A few amused looks passed amongst my table mates but we gave it a try.
Unfortunately the "Dry Cannelloni Stuffed with Ricotta Cheese, Porcini Mushroom, Veal and a Truffle Dipping Sauce" was perhaps my least favourite dish and the wine was overpowering. My entire table did not fancy the choice of wine, in fact, so it was not just my feeble knowledge of wine.
If you are interested in Halal options - please stay tuned for The Halal Food Diaries' review.
Next was "Passatelli with parmesan fondue". Passatelli is from Chef Angeletti's region in Italy (For that matter - almost all the staff were Italian aside from the lovely Daisy in marketing) and apparently can stay in water for a long time - incapable of being overcooked. The pasta was then cooked in chicken stock and the sauce was a mixture of cream and parmesan cheese cooked at seventy degrees (celsius).
The dish was very rich and perhaps it was the combination of all the other rich foods earlier but I found myself wishing for more of that delicious Ying Yang Salmon. ;)
Following the pasta, we had "Sea Bass cooked in olive oil with cream of potato and taggiasca olives". The sea bass was also superbly cooked and moist.
Finally it was pudding time and we were presented with "Chiboust" and a glass of Greco di Bianco.
Again I was not impressed with the wine pairing but I am well aware I do not have a wide understanding of wines so don't go based on my comments. ;)
Now for the "Chiboust". As Thoroughly English pronounced, it was like a deconstructed creme brûlée. Couldn't have said it better myself.
The creme was rich and yet moist, the pastry too tough and perhaps not enough of it (?) and unfortunately there were not enough berries to help absorb the richness from the meal.
So what did I think? The food was delicious and my favourites were (in this order):
- The Ying Yang Salmon (A++)
- Cheese Bread (A+)
- The Sea Bass (A)
- Passatelli (A-)
- Dry Cannelloni (B)
- Chiboust (B)
All the dishes (aside from the Ying Yang Salmon) were very rich so keep that in mind when deciding what to eat earlier in the day. ;) But truthfully, it was a most delightful evening. The food really was delightful, the servers' faces were wreathed with the desire to serve and please - I told She Lives to Eat that I would not be surprised if one of the servers were to offer me the shirt off their back that's how accommodating and genuine they were, and the atmosphere was relaxing and would be excellent for spending time with a friend or perhaps a date night.
And as always I love these fabulous Zomato meet-ups because it means opportunities to meet fellow food bloggers. Thank you Alexandra, Chris and Yusef from Zomato! If you are a food blogger and haven't yet connected with the Zomato community, might I suggest you do! :)
Also what a pleasure to meet Chef Angeletti! What a generous man and definitely very talented. (Thanks The Halal Food Diaries for snapping this pic when my phone's battery died.)
If you are interested in visiting Xenia Hotel's Evoluzione Restaurant they offer a wide array of options to choose from:
- Private dining
- Luncheon (12pm-5pm; with an express lunch menu as low as £9.99)
- Early Dining option (4pm-6pm; £15 per person for a 2-course meal and a glass of wine or a soft drink)
- A la carte dinner from 6pm
- Also, the Xenia Lounge - where my fellow bloggers and I first enjoyed our cocktails, is open daily and an Antipasti board at Aperitif O'clock is available from 5pm-7pm daily.
Lastly, if you enjoy a good cigar, there is the Living Wall Bar -- that is another vibrant cocktail bar and boasts a humidor and access to a heated Herb Garden. The atmosphere in the Living Wall Bar is snug and cozy, like being in a library or study.
So many options for how you can enjoy a visit to Evoluzione! And of course, if you're hankering for a place to stay during your visit to London, the photos of their rooms look delightful. For more information, you can visit www.hotelxenia.co.uk. I hope you enjoyed this latest review! And do have a look at my fellow bloggers' pages too.
Many thanks to Zomato and Hotel Xenia for their hospitality and the delightful evening. These opinions are all my own.