"Make sure to leave room for dessert..."Review Rating: Reviewed by Laurel
Having not spent much time around Canary Wharf, the few occasions I have dined there I’ve found there seems to either be a glut of slightly run of the mill chains, plenty of rather fancy fare to cater to the banking crowd, but relatively little (in my experience at least) that seemingly fits into the middle bracket of wallet-friendly fine dining that ticks the boxes of satisfying portion sizes and a non-pretentious menu (or clientele for that matter.)…
Bella Cosa seems to fit the bill. Though it’s a little off the main drag, situated as it is on the ‘other’ side of Canary Wharf, nearer to South Quay, the fact that it’s slightly set away from the action, as it were, may in fact work in its favour. On our Thursday evening visit it was all but empty when we arrived at 6.30 (early bird special…) but even when it filled up as we were leaving, it seemed to be with couples, locals and smaller groups of friends, lending it more an air of a local family-run restaurant rather than the vibe of some of the establishments I’ve visited around there which seem to always be full of Canary Wharf’s most annoying residents…
In true Italian style, the owner took great pride in circulating around every table throughout the evening, recommending dishes and wines, ensuring everyone was more than satisfied with their dinner and never missing an opportunity for a story. I don’t know about you, but it makes for a much more pleasant dining experience when it seems the staff care about nothing more than their diners having a good time.
Be careful not to fill up ahead of your dinner on the sumptuous bread basket; once you dig in it will be hard to stop yourself from completely polishing off the homemade focaccia and crispy fennel breadsticks. An amuse bouche arrived, the somewhat intriguing concept of a kind of octopus flavoured mayonnaise with a beetroot foam; sounds repulsive but rest assured it was quite the opposite.
We started with a plate of tender scallops accompanied with polenta, squid ink and lardo di colonnata, a combination I didn’t love but seemed to be a grower the more I tried it. A creamy, tangy burrata was accompanied with a satisfyingly crispy slice of capocollo (dried pig neck) though the cardoncelli mushrooms were slightly less flavourful.
With an a la carte menu covering pizza, pastas, meat and fish, choosing a main was no mean feat. Overwhelmed by choice I went for a classic, fuss-free pumpkin tortelli with butter, sage and truffle; delicate yet richly flavoured, incredibly moreish and certainly a rival to any similar I’ve had in Italy. While I can’t speak for the lamb chops, pumpkin puree and purple broccoli that was consumed on the other side of the table, the satisfied lip-smacking would appear to imply it was a successful choice.
Make sure to leave room for dessert; their tiramisu was quite possibly one of the best I’ve tried. Lighter than air, I thought the amount of cocoa atop the bubbly mousse would be too much but it was absolute perfection. It’s one pudding I’d make the pilgrimage again for.
Laurel reviewed Bella Cosa on Mon 09 Apr 2018