New restaurant Qvintessenza
opens on Borough High Street

Now open serving Venetian specialities made from food and drink produced in Italy by artisans.

The Idea

Alessandro Zavarise, Qvintessenza’s owner, travelled all over Italy to source artisan food & drink from producers who don’t have the means to export their products themselves.

The Food

Alessandro, and head Chef, Michele Tiveron, have created a menu of regional specialties.

An ever-evolving choice of ‘cicchetti,’ or small bites feature cured meats, seasonal cheeses and the sort of fish and seafood found in Venice’s salt water lagoon.

Dentice Mantecato’ is a rich and creamy snapper mixture spread, like butter, onto crunchy croutons and gone in one savoury bite.

Bollito e Crudo di Pesce’ is made for sharing over a glass or two of Prosecco and marries a raw and steamed array of octopus, scallops on the shell, Venetian marinated sardines, tuna and king prawns.

First courses tend to be light and seasonal. An emerald-green courgette velouté topped with prawns is inspired by, but posher than, Italian peasant food.

In the Carbonara, bacon is out, swordfish is in. And for game-lovers rich hare ragout served over truffle tagliolini is irresistible.

Qvintessenza’s signature, ‘Frittura Mista di Pesce’ heaps colourful strands of lightly fried vegetables and potatoes over fried squid, king prawns and a single marinated sardine: a Venetian take on fish and chips.

Gourmet pizzicata, made with a 72-hour slow-risen sourdough base, come with a variety of toppings the star being ‘porchetta’ slow-roasted suckling pig piled in wafer thin slices over the tomatoey dough.

Tiramisu is a dessert created originally in Treviso, near Venice, and this one, with its silky, artisan mascarpone and fine dusting of chocolate, is simply to-die-for. A luscious selection of gelati in flavours from fresh mint and chocolate chip to peach, are also made in-house. A glass of Ramandolo 2004 dessert wine makes the ideal accompaniment.

The Craft Beer Bar

At the far end of the dining room, a bar area, complete with high stools, is currently serving ‘Birrone’ an award-winning unpasteurised and additive-free craft beer from Isola Vicentina, just outside Venice. The beer, offered on tap and by the bottle, makes a good partner for a couple of cicchetti especially during Happy Hour from 5 – 7pm.

The Tasting Room, Prosecco and Wine

To the side of the dining room, a tasting area, surrounded by shelves and shelves of the Prosecco and wines procured by Alessandro on his travels, is lovely for a romantic candle-lit dinner for two, a private group dinner, or one of a series of the tasting evenings to be held at Qvintessenza in the coming months.

Like the food, the wine list is designed to support small producers with exceptional creations. With more than 75 labels, all the Prosecco and wines are selected from protected zones where growers and producers adhere to strict regulations in order to be certified as Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) or Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT)

The Quota Zero Prosecco (£29), for example, is crisp, dry and contains zero sugar. It hails from Asolo, Italy’s most romantic town. Allegedly.

A least five different Prosecco and sparkling wines are available by the glass starting at £5, as well as red and white wines sourced all the way from Alto Adige in the north to Sicily.

The Interiors

The long, pale-wood space is flooded with natural light thanks to floor-to—ceiling windows running the entire length of one side of the room. A relaxed feel is created with the use of simple wooden tables and minimal chairs in chocolate Italian leather. Italian glassware and cutlery add a subtle touch of style.

The restaurant is topped and tailed with a craft beer bar at one end and a small retail space at the entrance offering artisan products such as jars of marinated olives, dried pasta, Prosecco and red and white wine.

Alessandro Zavarise says: “Italy’s artisan food and drink scene has never been livelier, but for most of the talented people I meet, the prospect of featuring their products in England, never mind London, is all but a chimera. I want to showcase some of the best my country has to offer, and the more I travel the more I find. I’m excited when I think that for me, and Silvio my cocker spaniel, the journey has only just begun.”

Qvintessenza
304 Borough High Street
London, SE1 1JJ
020 7403 9728
www.5essenza.com
Twitter @QvintessenzaUK
Facebook 5essenzatreviso

Directions

Exit Borough tube station, turn right and walk for about 2 minutes along Borough High Street. Qvintessenza is opposite the police station, so no misbehaving.

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