Dalston is nothing new to me personally. Usually I frequent this hip little hub to dance in its dingy basements. On this particular day though, things were different. Firstly it was daylight, I was sober as a judge, and rather than jabbing the air in music-induced, reckless abandon, my friend and I were to be sampling fine wine and food at the swanky new concept bar, Acqua 7.
A hop and a skip down Balls Pond Lane and we had arrived at the modish watering hole. A dark oak bar spanning the best part of the room, matching dark furniture and all-white walls make Acqua 7 a chic yet comfortable hangout.
Alongside lush leafy plants above the bar, and cute succulents centre of its tables, Acqua 7 showcases its impressive wine selection as part of the décor. From the selection we sampled the Sangiovese Chianti, a delicious red that is a reason alone to visit Acqua 7.
Drinking in our sleek surroundings and the chianti, we were presented with a selection of nibbles, all served on geometric white plates which create symmetrical patterns on the table top. The social media fiends amongst us will be pleased with this in-vogue visual point, and when they are the vessels for delicious cheeses & charcuterie, what’s not to like?
We started with the sourdough. It had a satisfyingly firm crust, bubble-filled crumb and was accompanied with organic olive oil that had an echo of a nutty taste. Everyone should break bread, figuratively and literally with this simple pleasure of Acqua 7’s.
The truffle salami on offer was as rich & flavoursome as any cured meat should be. It had a coarse texture, as the larger bits of meat are delicately held together in a casing round the outside of each slice.
The Montepulciano infused salami flavour took a moment to register as the meaty tenderness melted away in one’s mouth, and then it was a welcomed arrival. The pickled caper berries provide more than an attractive garnish – their acidity complements the meat wonderfully.
Having one cheese is good, having 3 is 3 times better. We were presented with a 24-month Parmigiano-Reggiano, truffle Pecorino & gorgonzola picante.
The Parmigiano provides full flavour, with a slightly salty aftertaste. After 24 months of ageing, the Parmigiano was firm and crumbly to the bite, but soft enough to be able to eat in small pieces, rather than calling on the help of a cheese grater.
The truffle pecorino was softer than the crumbly parmigiana. I don’t think I could taste the truffle, full disclosure: I’m not sophisticated enough to know what a truffle tastes like. Truffle taste prominent or not, this smooth cheese was delectable and the accompanying fennel was great for enlivening taste buds further.
The gorgonzola picante sits firmly as mild-medium strength gorgonzola, and it’s the kind of strength that can make people reassess the ludicrous statement of not like blue cheese. Essentially it packed in full, aromatic flavour without being overpowering, it’s a real people’s champ. Ordering this for the tentative cheese consumer will not be in (blue) vein.
Full on the finer things in life we finished the evening with a choice from the cocktail menu. Settling for a watermelon martini, I had my doubts. Doubts that it was really alcoholic. It’s hard to pick up on the vodka base when it tastes just of fresh watermelon. Acqua 7’s owner, Cyrus, let me in on the secret: atomised lemon juice gracing the top. Sensibility swept in on the school night, and we relished just the one but vouched to visit again soon. And if you’re after an evening that encompasses good wine, delicious food and a sophisticated setting, you should too. With everything else taken care of, you need only bring good chat.
7 Balls Pond Road, London, N1 4AX