It’s not everyday that I walk past a hotel and decide to try out the restaurant inside. Not for any particular reason but it never dawns on me to eat inside a hotel if I’m not spending a night there. Brunello Restaurant inside the exquisite Baglioni Hotel proves that it can be well worth doing.
Just a 5-minute walk from High Street Kensington and situated in front of Hyde Park, we made our way to the hotel’s plush entrance and glistering Christmas tree I could see from the outside.
I don’t normally tend to walk into a place and say ‘wow!’ a lot. I am not easily impressed having spent my childhood living in plush parts of the Middle East and seeing some stunning places. But Baglioni Hotel wowed me and when I walked into Brunello Restaurant, I was impressed by the sleek and timeless Milanese decor that filled the room. Warm colours and comfortable booths and tables filled the large room with contemporary artwork on the walls.
As we are approaching Christmas in a few weeks, I had a keen eye out for decorated Christmas trees and loved Brunello’s. It’s like something out of a fairly tale. It definitely gave me a warm feeling inside.
To start the afternoon off, we were given a lovely crisp glass of Italian prosecco. It was sweet and light with tantalizing flavours. Perfecto!
Before we started our lunch, Peter, our lovely host brought us some delicious and warm homemade bread. It contained rye and sourdough slices that we polished off with delicious and nutty Italian olive oil and rich Italian balsamic vinegar. A heaven-made combination.
Brunello Restaurant offers authentic Italian dishes with ingredients imported from Italy to bring a real taste of Italian authenticity to the dishes. Dishes are prepared by Michelin star-awarded chef Alberto Rossetti. To get the most of sunny Italy on this cold winter day, Peter asked us if we would like to try some of their famous Italian dishes featured on the lunch menu and we happily accepted the offer.
First up was a classic – minestrone soup. The soup had a delicious and flavorsome broth with fresh al dente vegetables (just the way I like it). We were prompted to spoon in some Parmesan cheese into the soup to add another level of rich flavours to the dish. Boy it did not disappoint. It was a soothing soup and a great way to warm up the stomach. My bowl was empty before I knew it.
The second dish that came out has to be one of the best dishes I’ve had in a while. For non pork eaters like myself, I was delighted with the beef alternative – bresaola. Tasty thin slices of salted cured beef was accompanied with delicious buffalo mozzarella, fresh juicy tomatoes and mint. It was beautifully presented and tasted as good as it looked. The beef – preserved in house – was delicious and had a rich flavour. The buffalo mozzarella was soft and creamy and paired well with the juicy tomatoes. Shaved Parmesan topped off the dish with a rich smoky smoothness. I think I could have eaten another plate of this!
The third dish to come out of the kitchen from chef Rossetti is one of my all-time favourite comfort dishes – the classic spaghetti in tomato sauce. The pasta (all home-made by the chef himself) was cooked to perfection. It was done the proper way – leaving a bite to it. The rich and fresh tomato sauce was enough to coat the pasta and made it moreish.
The third dish was the Milanese risotto. It was creamy and rich and the saffron gave the dish a wonderful golden colour. The risotto was cooked to perfection and the creamy cheese brought the dish together. A feast for any risotto lover.
The fourth dish was the classic vegetarian dish aubergine parmigiana. This glorious dish contains layers and layers of thinly sliced aubergine with a rich tomato sauce topped with Parmesan cheese. This dish works well on a bleak chilly day, the bold flavours supplying a welcome taste of warmer climes while the copious amounts of aubergine, tomato and cheese provide the real healing power.
I cannot go to an Italian restaurant without trying some courgette fritters. They have been a favourite of mine since I tried them a few years ago in Milan. I mean, thin slices of courgette deep fried in batter – can it get any better?
With our bellies bursting, Peter said that we wouldn’t be able to leave without trying their take on the traditional tiramisu. Now, if you know me, you will know that I ALWAYS have room for dessert. Taking a little breather, we sipped on our Italian wine and relaxed to the music in the background.
As the restaurant began filling up, we decided to try the tiramisu which came in a little cute ramekin. The tiramisu was light and not too sweet, the sponge was soaked in rich coffee and Tia Maria and the sweet mousse was delicate and warming. What a great way to end a spectacular lunch – coffee, cream and booze – the classic after-diner combination!
If you can’t quite afford a trip to Italy anytime soon, then Brunello Restaurant is the place to be to get a real taste of Italy. Fresh and simple flavours bring the dishes to another level.Chef Rossetti will not leave you disappointed!
60 Hyde Park Gate, London, SW7 5BB