Evoluzione, Hotel Xenia
Head Chef at Hotel Xenia’s street fronted restaurant Evoluzione, Angeletti, has organised a series of culinary events to take place every six weeks, each time inviting a different Italian ‘Guest Chef’ who will expertly take all guest diners on a journey through different Italian regions, tastes and traditions.
Being a proud East Londoner for many years now I must admit that I rarely venture West for dinner on a school night. I was however invited to the first Guest Chef Event at Hotel Xenia in Kensington with the highly acclaimed Michelin star-awarded chef Pietro D’Agostino feeding us a six-course menu from Sicily. I love Italian food. If there was one thing that could temp me, it was that.
Tonight was all about Sicily and Italian-born chef Pietro D’Agostino, owner of the notable Sicilian restaurant La Capinera. The event began with a glass of sparkling wine and delightful canapés next to the virtuoso pianist setting the mood. My guest for the evening was running very late, so it was a great opportunity to mingle with other guests and speculate on what the evening had in store. Before we were even seated we were treated to a demonstration by pastry chef Manuele Francesco who showed us how to make the famous Sicilian Cannoli, a deep fried pastry filled with sweet cream cheese.
We were seated in the beautifully modern, yet romantic, restaurant with floor to ceiling windows intended to give an almost Al fresco experience to its diners. Pietro D’Agostino gave us insight into what lay in store for the evening explaining that Sicily’s prolonged heat and sunshine and Mount Etna’s great height and volcanic minerals made for rich flavoursome ingredients such as pistachio, almond, capers, olive oil, cherry tomato and artichoke.
Andrea Angeletti and Pietro D’Agostino presented us with six traditional Sicilian dishes over the evening, all perfectly paired with accompanying wine from the region.
To start we were served the beautifully delicate dish of Noodles Scallops. It had hints of orange and fiery rocket presented as a perfect mouthful with fork already embedded. This dish was paired with the DaEtna Bianco – Constantino, worth a mention as my favourite wine of the evening; crisp, dry and delicious.
The King Prawns were a modern work of art that I wanted to devour. The succulent seafood was accompanied by an almond and orange sauce which set the dish off nicely. Andrea Angeletti brought fun into the menu with his dish Just Pasta, directing waiters to serve broth to warm the sea-food ravioli in tea pots at the table. The theatre of the dish was magical and the flavour was a fresh, vibrant taste of the sea.
We were treated to two desserts from guest pastry chef Manuele Francesco, my favourite being Almond Mouse, enticingly decorated with a sugared almond and orange sauce. It was sweet, light and creamy – a perfect way to end the evening, or so we thought. All of a sudden it was 11pm and we were unexpectedly given two dark chocolate truffles to scoff before the long journey back to East London.
If you are looking for a truly special restaurant experience, and you are a fellow Italian food lover, then I cannot recommend the Guest Chef Event enough. For £65 you receive a full tasting menu, wine accompaniment with each course, a demonstration from the guest chef and a journey through the Italian region.
160 Cromwell Road