An Italian Tradition at Alloro, Mayfair:
I’m still living my Italian dream, so I was delighted to be invited to Alloro for dinner. Hidden away halfway along Dover Street, it is an elegant and discrete restaurant that is perhaps not as well known as it deserves to be. The invitation was to celebrate Parmigiano Reggiano, the best known and classic Italian PDO cheese. And, our introduction to the restaurant started the evening off with the feeling of a real celebration, a large wheel of Parmesan as centrepiece which we nibbled on happily, sipping prosecco while waiting for everyone in the group to arrive.
The menu was specially designed to showcase Parmesan, and who better to do that than an Italian Chef? In this case Alloro’s Head Chef Daniele Camera, a native of Torino, Italy.
We started with Insalatina di carciofi and “Parmigiano Reggiano” – a salad of artichokes and parmesan. Beautifully presented and a great way to showcase the parmesan, it was accompanied by Langhe Bianco Chardonnay “Sermine” 2011 D.O.C. We continued to drink the chardonnay through the next course, a delicate carpaccio of veal with parmesan -Carpaccio di vitello all’albese con “Parmigiano Reggiano”.
The food was delightful and conversation lively, with a mixture of journalists, chefs and bloggers. And we all loved the gnocchi, a heady mixture of parmesan and fresh truffle that followed. Feather-light dumplings with a rich and pungent cheese and truffle sauce…
Washed down with a glass of Barbera d’Alba “Paoline” 2010, I would have been happy to have dined on this dish alone.
Now, I should perhaps mention that the company was very entertaining. Chefs, Journalists and Bloggers all around the same table. And the lively general manager at Alloro, Giorgio Abis, who introduced each dish and charmed us throughout. The private dining area we used for the meal worked very well at containing our enthusiasm!
I love the combination of beef and aubergine and Filetto di manzo arrosto con tortino di melanzane and “Parmigiano Reggiano”, a rather grand sounding name for a slice of beef fillet on a tower of melting aubergine and parmesan was a glorious dish, beautifully tender beef on a stack of rich aubergine, this was the kind of dish I really enjoy dining out to experience.
The only red wine of the evening, Barbaresco Valgrande 2008, was lush and easy to drink, rich with berries and floral notes and a perfect match for the beef.
Dessert was a parmesan semi-freddo…light and creamy and probably about the most I could have eaten at this stage!
This was a great showcase for Parmesan. A fabulous menu where the cheese either took the lead role or just enhanced great Italian cookery.
Thanks to Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO and Allora for their hospitality. I was charmed by the staff and the restaurant itself and hope to return.
Photos of the restaurant are reproduced by kind permission of Alloro, the food shots are my own!