We went to a Square Meal food bloggers’ dinner at Four to Eight, a new Italian restaurant located in Covent Garden. It is a two level establishment with a modern design and crisp decor, with the main restaurant at street level and the kitchen and chef’s table in the basement.
Whilst we chatted to the social media and marketing teams from Square Meal plus fellow food bloggers, we enjoyed canapes of squid ink crackers with squid emulsion. This was paired with a crisp, citrusy Nino Franco, a Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut Rustico from Veneto, Italy, that complemented the intense flavours concentrated in the squid emulsion.
As we sat down and made our menu choice, we were served farinata, salumi and arancini. Farinata is a chickpea frittata, and arancini are deep-fried risotto balls.
For starters, C enjoyed Cured Red Mullet, with tonnato, treviso and crispy artichoke; whilst I shared a citrusy Venison Tartare served with crisp, Italian flat breads, and that had sweet beetroot and shallots elements balanced by the bitter lettuce and fermented pear – a new idea for us as we have been having difficulties as to what else to do with our pears from our garden besides chutneys, jams and frozen compotes and purees for winter time crumbles and sponge puddings!
For mains, I enjoyed a Sea Bream with crispy skin and the beautiful, flaky fish was complemented by wonderful textures and flavours from the roast lettuce, semolina gnocchi and the salsa verde. C had a Beef Shin Ragu, a winter warming dish served on pappardelle and decorated with pecorino and nasturtium leaf.
For desserts, we tucked into a velvety Opera Cake served with ricotta ice cream, and a gorgeous, syrupy Rum Baba. Unfortunately, we tucked into the Opera Cake to eagerly and so did not get a picture of this – so you will just have to take our word that it was a dessert made in heaven. Also, the rum baba is enough for two people to share; I should have taken heed of our waiter’s warning that it was a big dessert, but my eyes got the better of me when I saw one going to customers in the restaurant upstairs! It was like a big, warm, comforting hug on a plate. We heard from our neighbours that the Amalfi lemon tart was to die for – dessert is now on our checklist!
The matching wines served per course were as follows:
Grosset, Riesling Alea, Clare Valley, Australia. 2013
Antonio Camillo, Maremma Rosso Principio, Toscana, Italy. 2013
Caroline Morey, Saint Aubin, Les Combes, Bourgogne, France. 2010
Quinta do Passadouro, Vihno Tinto, Douro, Portugal. 2011
JJ Prum, Riesling Auslese Graacher Himmelreich, Ruwer, Germany. 2007
Amazing food and thoughtfully matched wine pairings, with the Australian Riesling being a wonderful new taste sensation and the honey notes of the JJ Prum being a perfect end to the meal.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience with the culinary theatre of the open-plan kitchen opposite us whilst with made new food blogger friends, and met people we knew whom we had not seen for sometime.
Overall, a wonderful new venue with fabulous food and attentive service, and a must for your list of restaurants to visit!
Please see our Facebook page for more photographs from this event.