Getting local with a global reach

Last night saw the first (of several more in future?) gathering of those of us who love talking about food and wine in social media, and live in South East London. Six food and wine bloggers, twitterers, facebookers, etc. got together under the “SE Massive (#semassive)”  banner – apologies for the tag – to enjoy a meal at a LOCAL restaurant.

We are used to travelling around London and the world for our experiences, and sharing them on these global communications platforms, but this time we used this reach to find people and places that were much closer to home.

Following an invitation, we decided to try a restaurant called “Bella Vista” in Blackheath (http://www.bellavistarestaurant.co.uk/). The restaurant has been there for many years, but has recently been restyled and had a completely new menu created. As they say on their site:

“The menu at Bella Vista has been created by Piero Marenghi, recently of London’s multi award winning Italian restaurant L’Anima, and is led by the very talented head chef Alex Tyndall, who has also worked at Michelin starred Chapter One.”

Alex really did do us proud and the menu was delicious. The photos below hopefully speak for themselves, but every dish was very well executed, with fresh ingredients and perfectly cooked. I was particularly impressed with the moist, flavourful Mackerel and the Lamb, in fact my mouth is watering again just thinking about them. The full menu was:

Calamari Ripieni  With Sautéed Monks Beard
Bresaolo di Toro, Beetroot, Goats Cheese & Rocket
Grilled Mackerel, Caper, Anchovy, Fennel, Salsa di Pomodoro
Paccheri Amatriciana & Pecorino Cheese
Grilled Rump Of Lamb, Semi Dried Tomato, Marjoram Sauce
Date & Mascarpone Tart, Frangelico & Hazelnut Sauce

To accompany the food, we were joined by Ben Smith of Enotria (www.enotria.co.uk) who brought along 6 wines to match the dishes. Each was brilliant, and showcased the quality and variety of wines you can get from Italy if you know what you are looking for and are prepared to pay a little more than normal. My own favourites were the very refreshing Pinot Bianco which married with the Mackerel extremely well, and the minerally and juicy Dolcetto d’Alba from Ascheri with the Bresaola. The full list of wines was:

Ottella Lugana Superiore DOC Molceo (wonderful acidity and citrus fruit, opened up as it warmed a little)
Dolcetto Nirane Ascheri 2009 (plums, cherries and minerality)
2008 Pinot Bianco Classici DOC, Colterenzio (crisp, refreshing, citrus but balanced)
2008 Valpolicella Classico DOC Villa Novare, Bertani (juicy dark fruit and soft tannins)
Parusso Barolo DOCG 2005 (young and a touch closed, but showing lots of promise)
2006 Morsi di Luce, Cantine Florio (marmalade in a glass)

Thank you so much to Lizzie (@hollowlegs), Ben (@benbush), EuWen (@tehbus), Jess (@lovelychaos), Louis (@spiltwine) and Ben (@enotriauk) – from me (@thirstforwine) for a great evening.

I must go back to Bella Vista with my family. It is a great local restaurant to have, and reminds us all that you do not necessarily have to travel into the centre of London to get great quality food, and that local restaurants such as these can actually provide a great balance between the quality of food and service, and a more relaxed, cosy atmosphere to welcome local customers.

Grazie, e buon apetito!