In a city full of new openings, long standing restaurants, Michelin starred numbers and every day casual diners, we are spoilt for choice with where we should or could dine. This day in age, it certainly takes a lot of work amongst restauranteurs, chefs and sommeliers to bring out the best culinary experience for their diners. After all, they rely on their customers to enjoy their food and spread the organic word about what they are conjuring up in their kitchens.
I was recently invited to try out Gonzalo Luzarraga’s exceptional food, where the French and Italian borders mix and he developed the stunning Piedmontian cuisine. Learning about the art of cooking from a young age, Gonzalo was influenced by no other than his own grandfather who was a pastry chef. It is only lessons from someone respectable that you truly grasp the passion, love and creativity that goes into cooking. I am sure Gonzalo grandfather would be very proud of him today, doing the exceptional and brave job of bringing a piece of his roots and cuisine to the overly saturated London food scene.
We commenced our meal by popping open a bottle of champagne and paired it up with a delicious bun of fresh, crisp bread served with an anchovy butter. Even for those that don’t often have butter on their bread, this butter could be the reason you think otherwise.
However, we weren’t for long without being served up another lot of delicious snacks for us to indulge in whilst we waited for our starters to arrive. Gonzalo knows how to keep his hungry diners happy.
Gonzalo has a beautiful way of presenting even the smallest of things. Our snacks were snail, tripe and macaroon and tortilla. The tortilla chip was fantastic but I held back from trying the rest of the snacks to keep space for a very delectable set of dishes to come.
For our starters, the five of us chose two of the most popular starters on the menu. I think most of us were particularly intrigued by the wild enoki with 48 month Parmigano and black Alba truffle. I was mostly sold by the concept of the enoki, which is essentially mushrooms chopped up very, very finely to give a risotto like effect. Most people don’t realise it is mushroom and think it is made from arborio rice (which originates from Piedmont). The truffle parmigano gave it a beautiful creaminess and the truffle was the cherry on top!
The violet artichoke with oyster, parsley, walnut and kumquat (a type of citrus) was another favourite around the table. Not only did it sound and smell divine, it was presented to absolute perfection. Just wow!!
The array of mains available got everyones mouths watering with delight of the potential explosion of flavours that were to come.
First up was the stone bass with cime di rapa – a green variety of sprouting broccoli, a basque take on salsa verde and black lime. Can you imagine all those flavours coming together? Incredible right?!
Risotto lovers, you’ll be pleased to know that risotto did make the final cut on the RIGO London menu and it is made with 7 year aged Acquerello rice, black garlic and sea anemone. It was throughly enjoyed by those that ordered it, a must try.
I went for the fassona beef made with sake, shitake mushrooms, soya and chicory. A very colourful dish with the condiments bringing a real vibrance to the dish. The beef was beautifully cooked, to the point where it just fell apart and melted in your mouth. The sauce it was served with added some extra moisture to the already moist meat, which was perfection.
I thought I wouldn’t have space for dessert but when I saw the offerings, I magically developed a dessert stomach and there was all the room to try Gonzalo’s sweet delights. I mean I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that…
I loved the sound of the black forest which was made with fermented Visciola cherries and flat peach that was filled into a gorgeous buttery tart.
However, I knew I had to go for the other dessert on offer which was the modern white Bonet made with amaretto, heritage coffee and meringue. Can you see why it was calling my name now? “Aftab, please eat me.” After all, the proof is in the pudding and I think the verdict could easily be told by the clean plate left behind.
However, we couldn’t leave RIGO without something sweeter. Gonzalo left us with a little something to savour for after we left RIGO.
I honestly think RIGO is a huge michelin star contender for 2018 and with all of Gonzalo’s hard work, delectable food and gorgeous presentation, I am sure it won’t be long before I am proven right.
If you’re ever in the Fulham area (or not!) you must pay a visit to RIGO, I guarantee you won’t leave feeling disappointed.
Until next time…