Last week I was invited to try the latest menu at Stelle di Stelle in Harrods. The concept behind this wondrous pop-up involves five of the best restaurants in Italy which take up residency at Harrods for a month each from September 2014 until January 2015. The restaurants have 13 Michelin stars between them and I was lucky enough to be able to try Giorgio Pinchiorri and Annie Féolde’s menu from Enoteca Pinchiorri which has 3 Michelin stars.
So what did Julie and I have for our delicious catch up?
We started with some beautiful cheese and ham, paired with a glass of Ferrari Maximum Brut Trento Doc. Light and tasty, this was a perfect start to the meal.
The next course included chestnut mousse with pancetta, pine nuts and rosemary along with a glass of Ferrari Maximum Brut Trento Doc. This must have been the lightest mousse I have ever tasted. Its airy texture matched the deep flavours of the other ingredients. Pure sensation for my tastebuds. Even the olive oil danced around my mouth as I savoured each spoonful.
Another fantastic dish followed. Octopus cooked in olive oil with pumpkin cream, coffee pearls and watercress sprouts which was paired with a glass Rosso di Montalcino Doc San Polo 2012.
The coffee pearls were an elegant touch to this sumptuous dish. Apparently the octopus had been cooked three ways by the time it had reached the table and again, each mouthful arrived with a depth of flavour and texture that could only be the result of careful preparation.
We were both very much enjoying our meal.
Poached egg with Alba white truffle and Grana Padano cheese fondue was next on the list, with a glass of Giulio Ferrari Trento Doc 2002 to go with it.
I don’t think I have a favourite dish on this menu as they were all sublime. But if I had to pick, this would come close because poached egg, white truffle and cheese fondue prepared so delicately. I really tried to take my time with this one …
The next course – and at this stage with three more courses to go – I didn’t feel overfed but instead excited to experience the next adventure. The next course involved fusilli al ferretto with artichokes, scampi and liquorice powder, paired with a glass of not wine but Birra Moretti la Rossa.
To translate, a delicious glass of beer. I’m not a real beer drinker and would never think to pair my pasta with a glass but this totally worked. There was so much flavour in this glass of beer as there was in each glass of wine we had tried so far. There were layers and depth, just as there were with each dish too.
The penultimate course included a rack of lamb topped with garlic and thyme, accompanied by polenta and Cavolo Nero and paired with a glass of Poggio Al Tesoro Mediterra Igt Toscana 2011.
Admittedly I have never been a fan of polenta and I really don’t think I would ever order it in a restaurant. But by now I completely trusted the menu and I knew if there was a time when I would enjoy it, it would be now. And I was right.
The lamb was also something to savour, cooked perfectly and full of flavour.
Finally the dessert came along with bread, chocolate, oil and salt and a glass of Giovanni Allegrini Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico Doc 2010.
This dish is apparently based on a popular children’s favourite in Italy but obviously this more refined and sophisticated version arrived with a few surprises such as the soft chocolate pouring out of the chocolate casing as well as the taste of the olive oil upon the crispy bread. This isn’t your nuttella sandwich idea of a dessert. It’s something more delicate and if you especially enjoy sea salt chocolate, you will enjoy this.
Julie and I were amongst the last to leave Stelle di Stelle which you can find on the lower ground floor of Harrods, next to the fine wine section. So I had the opportunity to snap this photo to give you an idea of the beautiful design of the restaurant.
The whole evening was a real delight and whilst we dined in Knightsbridge, I really did feel like I had embarked on a culinary adventure. Always my favourite kind of meal.