Today I dined in Italian heaven! Otherwise known as a little restaurant just off Tooley Street aptly named ‘Tentazioni’.
The occasion: a celebratory engagement dinner with my fiancė’s colleagues.
I was absolutely delighted when The Boss said he wanted to take us out with the team to celebrate. Since I was diagnosed as a Coeliac, my husband-to-be has repeatedly come home from work with more and more wonderful restaurants for us to try thanks to his rather lovely boss always asking places he visits if they cater for the gluten free.
He set the girlies in the team to work finding out which of their favourite restaurants could cater for me, and wow did they deliver!
Tentazioni is hidden away from the hustle and bustle of London Bridge down a little side road called Mill Street. From the road you could easily bypass it’s unassuming frontage, which I assure you would be a silly thing to do. Step inside and the rich black, red and cream interior immediately tells of a classy and high-end restaurant. The Italian waiters and waitresses are dressed immaculately and have all the time in the world for every guest who walks through the door.
While the others perused the ‘normal’ menu, I was handed a decadent, indulgent and totally wonderful-in-every-way gluten free alternative. The food for me to choose from included wild mushroom risotto, penne with chefs special ragu and chargrilled vegetables, amongst others, to start. Mains ranged from ballotine of chicken with creamed spinach to venison with sautéed cabbage. Deserts of Zabaglione with Marsala reduction, wild berries of the forest and a full selection of ice creams and sorbets were listed alongside the cheese board and coffee. This menu was beautifully laid out in both Italian and English and was a real joy to peruse and choose from.
The Boss ordered some delicious prosecco for a toast, served in the daintiest and most elegant champagne flutes. The bread was then delivered to the table.
I must admit that whilst the smell of freshly baked bread is the most alluring, lovely, unfair smell that could ever greet you before a meal, I have perfected my ‘I wish I could have bread but I can’t, so you enjoy yours’ smile. I needn’t have worried. Delivered especially to me by the charming waiter was a plate of freshly baked gluten free bread, complete with my own oil and vinegar. I have to admit that at this moment I felt like all my Christmases had come at once! Really, what more could a gluten free girl want!
Onto the starters and I had opted for chargrilled vegetables with fresh tomatoes and herbs. I’m very sorry to report that I have no photographs of this outstanding meal; the polite corporate wife in me didn’t feel right about taking photos for my blog… I promise never to do this again as I so want to share it with you. The vegetables (courgette, pepper and fennel) were cooked to perfection and full of flavour.
My main course of venison with cabbage and a red wine reduction was to die for. Tender, succulent, melt-in-the-mouth pieces of venison sat on a bed of pan fried cabbage and pancetta with a rich sauce. This was Italian fine dining at it’s best. Every flavour was an absolute delight and each mouthful made me supremely happy! This was accompanied by a beautifully light, yet still full bodied red wine, which flowed freely throughout the meal.
I must admit that one of the highlights for me was the way in which the wine was served. Once the wine had been chosen, tasted and approved it was taken away and poured into a beautiful cut glass decanter. This was then expertly poured (frequently and without me noticing) to ensure that nobody’s glass was ever close to getting empty.
For dessert I opted for the summer berries. It was delightful; served in a little martini glass and dusted with icing sugar, it was just the right balance of sweet and light to follow the meal I had just enjoyed. However, I slightly regret not choosing the zabaglione as I have never tried it before and it did sound rather wonderful. I guess I’ll just have to go back!
This lunchtime experience was a dream for any food lover, but especially for me. As a gluten free girl and future wife of a foodie Italian, it’s such a joy to be introduced to restaurants who not only delight in wonderful service, excellent attention to detail and a thrilling menu, but also all of these things for a gluten free-er like me!
Tentazioni (‘temptations’ in English) you are everything you promised to be and more.
Today was a real treat. A fine dining Italian experience that I could whole-heatedly enjoy and I cannot recommend this treasure of a restaurant highly enough.
Little Miss GF x
Ps. I don’t have today’s menu, but here is a menu from a couple of weeks ago for you to see!