If Ristorante Frescobaldi sounds familiar, it is likely you’ve heard of the Frescobaldi family. The well-known noble family has been involved intimately with the economic and political landscape of Tuscany since the Middle Ages. They first made Tuscan wine back in 1308 and they are also behind the Laudemio brand of olive oil.
With such financial backing behind the restaurant, it was unsurprising the find one of the most picturesque dining rooms you will find in London. There are stunning wall murals, a spacious feel with high ceilings and plenty of foliage on display with fairy lights. This is as close as you will get to dining in an elegant Tuscan villa without having to pack your suitcase.
What makes Ristorante Frescobaldi standout most are their Winemaker’s dining experiences. With their significant contacts with the wine community, you really do get to sample some outstanding and unusual wines as well as learn interesting facts about them. This is all paired with some of the highlights from their food menu.
I suspect there are few wine cellars in London which can match the selection of Tuscan wines at Frescobaldi. I tried 7 different wines at the Castiglioni winemaker’s dinner. There were numerous highlights which I can spend a whole review discussing, but highlighting the quality of the wine were offerings of Giramonte 2011 and 2002. We learnt 2002 was a terrible year for most wines apart from Merlot, which is an early ripening grape. They were all harvested before significant rain arrived late September that year. The wine has rich, elegant fruity notes such as blackberry and plum. This version isn’t even sold at the restaurant, the 2011 version retails at £188 per bottle.
The first course was a tuna carpaccio with avocado and orange. This was perhaps the weak link in their selection, the fish was undeniably well-sourced, but the avocado adds little taste to the fish unlike something like tiger’s milk in Peruvian cuisine. Also the Chianti didn’t quite match with the tuna; yes red wine does match with tuna, but when it is a meatier cut rather than served carpaccio style.
In contrast, ox tail ravioli was rich in flavours, the skin was thin and it had a zesty taste from the citrus remoulade. The celery garnish added texture and colour to the dish.
For the secondi, pan-fried lamp chops was an excellent choice. The meat had the right mixture of meatiness and a small amount of fat. The pea purée and roasted artichoke added vibrancy to the dish and this dish did match well with the Giramonte.
To finish off we had a very nutty and carefully assembled hazelnut millefoglie and chocolate, which was matched with 40 Altari 2008, Vinsanto del Chianti d.o.c. Thankfully the dessert wine wasn’t overly sweet and didn’t overshadow the dessert.
I would highly recommend checking their website regularly for their next winemaker’s dinner before they sell out.