Love London

No offence to its previous proprietors, but it’s high time Spitalfields ditched the chains and smartened up a little. While there are still some great Indies to be found in the vicinity, in recent years they have been somewhat lacking, so the arrival of new Italian wine bar and restaurant Alfi in February makes a welcome addition to the market.

Taking over the spot vacated by LEON, Alfi’s bar opened in December serving up natural and biodynamic wines with some classic styles from small growers alongside some more adventurous varietals and production methods. Cocktails focus on small spirit producers of the highest quality with an accompanying menu of Italian-inspired bar snacks.

The bar of course it worth a visit of its own accord, but it was the restaurant opening in early February that really made us sit up and take notice. It’s a big space, but manages to feel homely and cosy despite its vaguely industrial set up. The menu covers different Italian regions and is - as so many now are - designed for sharing, though to be honest with so many standouts, you wouldn’t want to just choose one dish anyway.

Start with the toasted focaccia, just charred enough on the outdoor grill to make it extra delicious. A baked scamorza with sourdough and sauce vierge arrives goodly oozing and ready to be smothered across the awaiting bread; so far, so delicious.

The (highly underrated vegetable) Jerusalem artichoke was served up with morel mushrooms and an edamame purée, an unexpectedly tasty pairing, while lightly charred pieces of cauliflower nestled in a creamy zingy bang cauda were a real standout. Fans of bone marrow will rejoice as seeing it on the menu, bones served up hot from the grill with salsa verde and a couple of crostini, though a wholly unnecessary vessel as we would have devoured it alone. Indulgent? Yes. Delicious? Also yes.

Mains include handmade tagliatelle, grilled aubergine, wild whole plaice and spatchcock polletto, but we plumped for the tender and juicy 28 day aged beef tagliatelle and bordelaise sauce with a side of potato terrine, the kind of filthily crispy potato that would surely break some kind of decibel record, such is the strength of it’s crack under knife. Utterly superb. With just two puddings on the menu it was the chocolate cake and homemade vanilla ice cream that seduced us. Surprisingly light yet densely rich.

Alfi is a very welcome new addition to Spitalfields; book yourself a table, you won’t regret it.

3 Crispin Place, London, E1 6DW

Posted Date
Mar 31, 2024 in Love London by Laurel