After having spent quite a bit of time living in Italy, I consider myself a VERY tough critic when it comes to Italian food. There are few things that can replace the feeling of sitting in a busy town square while tucking into the perfect bowl of pasta followed by a sip of the magical elixir of life known as Chianti. I’ve yet to find a restaurant in London that gives me the exact same feeling as those days of old, but this week I did discover the closest thing yet.
Tucked away in the new modern development of St James’s Market, Veneta sits quietly and unpretentiously waiting to be discovered. This is a restaurant that, quite simply, serves Venetian inspired food. You won’t get much more of an explanation than that and truly it’s all you need. The menu is like Italian tapas, made up of mostly small plates that are meant to be shared. The only problem you’ll have is overcoming the extreme guilt in tucking into plates that are beautifully presented, like mini pieces of art come straight from the kitchen.
The food is special not only in its immaculate presentation, but also in its ability to completely surprise your tastebuds. I have become a collector of taste explosions, the bites that offer a complex combination of ingredients that have never before come into contact with your tongue. Too much? I think not. It’s the only way to describe these culinary moments that can truly only be understood when tried yourself. And Veneta, well, it’s definitely something every Londoner should be rushing towards to grab a table.
If you feel like sampling the menu, I will just quietly add here that this week is probably your best bet in doing so. Book an outdoor table for after 6pm and you’ll be greeted with a market square full of people and music. Every night this week St James Market is hosting a special cocktail bar, tasting menu and live entertainment to showcase all that the area has to offer. I went down last night, hence the early morning review, and found that this truly was a spectacular use of the British summer weather (a few pics below). Make it happen, people!
3 Norris Street
London SW1Y 4RJ
Fashion Foie Gras was a guest of Veneta and St. James’s Market.