Japan and Italy haven’t really had much to do with each other since World War II apart from the occasional game of rugby and volleyball… Until now… Opening in early 2019, Angelina is a restaurant in Dalston serving an exploration of Japanese and Italian cuisines, cultures and influences.
These are two cuisines we both love individually so we were quite hesitant as to how this would work. However, family-owned Angelina has been able to merge these two worlds in a way that celebrates key aspects of each culture well.
The exteriors are unassuming but inside, lanterns hang overhead throughout the restaurant and the effect is reminiscent of alleys in Kyoto. An open kitchen with counter dining greets us as we enter, as does head chef Daniele Ceforo from Rome. He has quite the background having worked at popular London restaurants Café Murano and Bocca di Lupo. Features like marble tables and sleek lines hint at the progressive nature of the menu.
We take a seat at the counter and decide to take a 5-plate tasting menu with wine pairing.
We started our meal off with the first two plates, a fritto misto dish and a selection of raw snacks. Seafood and vegetables were battered and fried fritto misto style and served alongside a selection of raw dishes like Hamachi and fatty tuna with a moromi fermentation mash and furikake seasoning. These plates were paired with the Panata: a fruity dry white wine from the Umbria region of Italy. It was a great way to start the meal as the mix of textures, temperatures, and flavours played well with the fruity wine.
The third plate was a deep and rich buckwheat ramen main course with porchetta. A 2018 Cortese Colli white wine from the Oltretorrente winery in Piedmont cuts the heartiness of the dish and provided a nice overall balance.
Next up was another main course of rabbit, truffle, and daikon. Different parts of the rabbit were used to create the inventive dish with flavours that are intensified by the plump Lambursco Gasparossa from the Emilia Romagna region.
We ended our meal with a delicious millefoglie (layered puff pastry based cake) with white chocolate and miso caramel. The Sicilian “Kabir” is made from Zibbibo grapes grown on the volcanic island of Pantelleria and its natural sweetness makes the perfect complement to the sweet and salty notes in the dessert.
Because we had the wine pairing, we didn’t sample the Angelina cocktail list. If ingredients are anything to go by, The Big Cheese, with a blend of pear, sochu cognac liqueur and pecorino cheese is one I cannot wait to go back for.
The team at Angelina believe that despite being located on completely different continents, Japan and Italy share a common ethos of celebrating regional cuisines and using simple flavours treated with respect. Their inventive menu and daily plates allow the team to be playful and test out new dishes. Angelina has already earned its spot on the London dining circuit and the electrifying Dalston food scene.
To book and discover more, visit: www.angelina.london
By Ina Yulo