Japanese Roots And An Italian Heart At Bella Cosa
Although his roots are in Japan, executive Chef Kentaro Torii’s heart is firmly in Italy. Already renowned by critics in the US and Italy for his Japanese approach to Italian food, he is now serving his signature contemporary Italian dishes with Japanese flair and presentation for the first time in the UK. Bella Cosa is the latest addition to London’s Italian restaurant scene which opened literally a few weeks ago.
Perched in South Quay, the glass-fronted restaurant has spectacular cityscape views of Canary Wharf from across the water. With the establishment split across two floors, you can sit staring outside from either the casual bar/dining area downstairs or my favourite spot which was on the mezzanine. It was the ideal place to have a cold flute (or two!) of Prosecco before my impending dinner.
The ground floor of Bella Cosa is a more casual affair where customers can come along for a few drinks and a bite to eat. And if the aforementioned views were calming for the soul, then foodies can rejoice by taking a ‘front row’ seat around the bar overlooking the Chef’s Isle to watch chefs prepare the dishes. Fish, seafood, antipasti, meats and cheeses are all flipped, tossed, artfully created and then placed on plates to the delight of customers. An additional open-plan kitchen towards the rear of the restaurant produces gourmet pizza from the stone oven. The aroma from the foods is just divine.
Moving upstairs, and next to the casual fine dining area, there is a wine room which displays carefully selected vinos – naturally 90 per cent of them Italian! The area can also be hired for private dining. But for those who prefer the grain to the grape, there is an artisan beer corner complete with wooden tables to give it a rustic pub feel. A number of the craft beers, as you may have guessed, are Italian and can be enjoyed over a good catch up.
The contemporary chic décor theme of the entire place runs through to the dining area which uses luxurious marble flooring and statement-coloured glass lights. The stylish oxblood red chairs gathered around dining tables gives it that extra splash of colour.
With a brand new restaurant that offers something so different, I opted for the tasting menu. The six-course feast kicked off with a Sea Carpaccio followed by Grilled Turbot, Sicilian Aubergine Puree, Autumn Vegetables, Bagna Cauda. The fish was truly divine and went wonderfully well with the puree. Course three arrived. Like the others, it was a work of art consisting of Cheese Ravioli, Saffron sauce, Beetroot Puree, Suckling Pig Cheek and Autumn Truffle. Although I passed on the pig cheek, my guest James assured me it was one of the best he had tasted. Grilled Duck Breast, Foie Gras, Corn Textures, Polenta and Saba Sauce was served before Pina Colada in Dessert and Textures of Chocolate Amarena Cherry and Hazelnut arrived which I may add, happily melted into the teeny weeny gaps we had left in our tummies.
Kentaro’s purely Italian kitchen brigade produces a respectable choice of dishes on the a la carte menu. Expect to find Seasonal Risottos, Grilled Octopus, Smoked Potato Puree, Trapani Pesto, Olives, Celery Salad, Black Cod in Prosciutto, and Baby Cuttlefish in Black Ink to tantalise your food buds. Cheekily glancing at the plates of other diners, I noticed that they were generous portions and so leaving hungry would not be a problem.
Bella Cosa has only been opened a few weeks, so it will be interesting to see what other dishes appear as we head into the winter months and beyond. But as far as my first experience is concerned, it would be apt to say ‘era squisito’ (that was delicious!).
Bella Cosa – Where and How?
Bella Cosa is located at Drewry House, 213 Marsh Wall, London E14 9FJ, United Kingdom. For more information, or to book a table, call +44 (0)207 132 1212, or visit www.bellacosarestaurant.com.
By Sabi Phagura