L’Anima has been on my radar for a few years, ever since Francesco Mazzei taught me how to make pizza at a bloggers event and it is one of those restaurants that despite being desperate to visit I have just never made it.
It’s no secret that Italian flavours are my favourite – fresh tomatoes, pillowy dough, creamy cheese, fresh cured meats. The list goes on.
Aperitivo is one of the latest crazes to sweep the London restaurant scene and L’Anima is now offering a range of aperitivi cocktails, which are served with one specially prepared small plate. We visited the bar a couple of weeks ago to try a few cocktails and dishes.
L’Anima is part restaurant, part bar and the large space is split in two by a large glass window – the long bar on the right and the restaurant on the left. I saw similarities to one of my favourite cafes, Princi in Soho, and shortly after I noticed it became apparent that Francesco and his team were consultants on the project.
Our first cocktails were aperol spritz and campari shekerato, which were accompanied by panzerotti, small crescent shaped tomato and mozzarella filled hot parcels. I then enjoyed the best negroni I have ever tasted – Portobello Road gin, cocchi rosso & campari mixed in a short glass with a huge cube of ice to ensure the drink stayed nice and cool the whole way through.
Throughout the remainder of our evening we were presented with a range of small but perfectly executed aperitivo dishes – veal meatballs and the most tender squid I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, served with a homemade chilli jam.
We topped our evening off with a lychee bellini and tour of the kitchen and private dining rooms. One dining room doubled as a wine cellar and featured a long table surrounded by cabinets with mostly Italian wines. The second room resembled a church – smooth cream coloured cool marble surrounded us with a long green marble table sat in the middle.
I walked out of L’Anima a happy lady. Excellent service, the best classic cocktails I have experienced in London and delicious authentic Italian snacks to boot. As we put our coats on the manager told me something that helped me sum up the L’Anima experience – the restaurant does not use fridges or freezers – all produce is freshly cooked that day. I’m already itching to return to L’Anima and I’m extremely excited about the L’Anima Cafe, which will open in August. Bring it on.
Aperitivo cocktails at L’Anima start at £5.