Four to Eight – a new, modern Italian restaurant in Covent Garden

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!

Jas S3 - Pics - Nov 14 - Album 1 087 Jas S3 - Pics - Nov 14 - Album 1 089

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.

Jas S3 - Pics - Nov 14 - Album 1 090 Jas S3 - Pics - Nov 14 - Album 1 093

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!

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The matching wines served per course were as follows:

Starters:

Grosset, Riesling Alea, Clare Valley, Australia. 2013

Antonio Camillo, Maremma Rosso Principio, Toscana, Italy. 2013

Mains:

Caroline Morey, Saint Aubin, Les Combes, Bourgogne, France. 2010

Quinta do Passadouro, Vihno Tinto, Douro, Portugal. 2011

Dessert:

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!

Twitter: @FourToEightLDN

Please see our Facebook page for more photographs from this event.

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About goantolondon

International food and travel blog by London based British Goan duo: Jason and Chiara Pinto. Twitter: @goantolondon @jasonpinto100 @chiarapinto About Goa: Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. Though the smallest Indian state, Goa has played an influential role in Indian history. Goa was one of the major trade centers in India, thus it had always been attracting the influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries since its earliest known history. Throughout its history Goa has undergone continual transformation, leaving an indelible impression on various aspects of its cultural and socio-economic development. History of Goa: The East-West symbiosis of Goa makes it different from other parts of India, more than the historical and social niche. The history of Goa is a sweet and sour story of colonial heritage, oppressive rulers, a glorious culture, and uneventful immediate past. As a land with the identity of its own, Goa was brought into focus when it was liberated of Portugal from its oppressive rule of around 450 hundred years in 1961. Goa was captured and annexed to the Portuguese in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices and also cottons and indigo. But, Goa has a history that starts much before Portugal even thought of Goa being where it is. Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D. From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But there empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Gpa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen. Their liberal and progressive rule was not going to last too long and situation changed in 1510 A.D. Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders. The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore. It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510. The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took place continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India. It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961; Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental. Information sourced from: http://www.royalorienttrain.com/goa/goa-history.html
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