Live In Italian, Live From London saw luxury mineral water brand S. Pellegrino erect a pavilion in Potters Fields Park, at the foot of Tower Bridge on the South Bank, for a celebration of Italian-inspired cuisine from some of London’s top chefs.
While Theo Randall and Phil Howard each took over the pavilion for one night each to put on a three-course meal, up-and-coming chef Chris Denney was in charge for a more relaxed lunchtime experience, and Candid popped down to take a look.
Denney, currently the head chef of Covent Garden’s Italian restaurant Four to Eight, put together a small selection of Italian-style tapas with a little bit of British inspiration. The weather proved about as close to the Italian sun as London ever gets, though the bridge’s looming towers served as a fitting reminder that this was a fundamentally British operation, with chefs and ingredients alike representing homegrown talent.
After an admittedly late start (a 12 p.m. opening coming and going long before food arrived) Denney et al offered a selection of three dishes. Crab with fennel and an avocado puree offered a light start, outshining a crisp courgette flower which was let down by its sickly sweet dressing.
Roast lamb neck with a caponata was the real triumph. Meltingly tender lamb fell apart at the touch, its robust flavour standing out above the complex caponata. Crunchy nuts provided a textural complement, while capers cut through the sweetness of the tomato. Comfortably worth the (rather affordable) price of admission alone.
Luxury Italian/British tapas fusions on the bank of the Thames are clearly too good a treat to last for long, and S. Pellegrino’s pop-up has already been and gone from the riverside. Organisational hiccups aside, here’s hoping it finds its way back the next time the sun comes out.